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How to Teach Kids to Draw Using Shapes

Updated on May 16, 2016
Street chalk fire truck and monster truck.
Street chalk fire truck and monster truck. | Source

Everything is made of shapes.

While making crude chalk drawings in the park with my sons I realized drawing could be a great teaching tool. By breaking subjects into shapes that they can easily identify and draw they will be able to draw more confidently in the future. Since they are still just toddlers, getting to know their shapes, so I hope these exercises will also get them more familiar with identifying various shapes.

ANYTHING can be broken down into simple shapes. After taking a look at some of these examples, try to find your own subjects to draw and break them down into simplified shapes. Please feel free to share if you do!

This exercise works with a pencil, eraser, and paper, but also with other mediums; such as paper cut outs, chalk drawings, and other 2D mediums. Though, I'm sure, with a little innovation you could make these figures out of play dough as well. To demonstrate this versatility, this hub will be illustrated in various mediums.

As I come up with more designs, I'll be sure to add them.

Have fun!

How to draw a Monster Truck with just shapes.
How to draw a Monster Truck with just shapes.

How to Draw a Monster Truck

This tutorial was drawn using computer software.

*If you are doing paper cut outs, draw steps 1 - 6 on the paper you want for the body of your car before cutting out anything.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Start with rectangle.Step 2. Add square.Step 3. Add triangle.Step 4. Add another triangle.Step 5. Mark circles.Step 6. Erase circle markings outside rectangle and rectangle markings inside circles.Step 7. Add circles.Step 8. Add circles and squares.Step 9.  Erase markings.Step 10. Add rectangles and any additional details.
Step 1. Start with rectangle.
Step 1. Start with rectangle.
Step 2. Add square.
Step 2. Add square.
Step 3. Add triangle.
Step 3. Add triangle.
Step 4. Add another triangle.
Step 4. Add another triangle.
Step 5. Mark circles.
Step 5. Mark circles.
Step 6. Erase circle markings outside rectangle and rectangle markings inside circles.
Step 6. Erase circle markings outside rectangle and rectangle markings inside circles.
Step 7. Add circles.
Step 7. Add circles.
Step 8. Add circles and squares.
Step 8. Add circles and squares.
Step 9.  Erase markings.
Step 9. Erase markings.
Step 10. Add rectangles and any additional details.
Step 10. Add rectangles and any additional details.
How to draw a fire engine with shapes.
How to draw a fire engine with shapes.

How to Draw a Fire Engine

This tutorial was drawn using computer software.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Long thin rectangle.Step 2. Rectangle.Step 3. Rectangle.Step 4. Line.Step 5. Circles.Step 6. Erase.Step 7. Smaller circles.Step 8. Small rectangle.Step 9. Two parallel thin rectangles.Step 10. Erase.Step 11. Lines.Step 12. Rectangles.Step 13. Colour!
Step 1. Long thin rectangle.
Step 1. Long thin rectangle.
Step 2. Rectangle.
Step 2. Rectangle.
Step 3. Rectangle.
Step 3. Rectangle.
Step 4. Line.
Step 4. Line.
Step 5. Circles.
Step 5. Circles.
Step 6. Erase.
Step 6. Erase.
Step 7. Smaller circles.
Step 7. Smaller circles.
Step 8. Small rectangle.
Step 8. Small rectangle.
Step 9. Two parallel thin rectangles.
Step 9. Two parallel thin rectangles.
Step 10. Erase.
Step 10. Erase.
Step 11. Lines.
Step 11. Lines.
Step 12. Rectangles.
Step 12. Rectangles.
Step 13. Colour!
Step 13. Colour!
How to draw a pickup truck using just shapes.
How to draw a pickup truck using just shapes.

How to Draw a Pick-up Truck

This tutorial was drawn using a pencil, eraser, and pen.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Start with a rectangle for the body of the car.Step 2. Add a square for the cab.Step 3. Add two circles for wheels.Step 4. Add two more circles for hub caps.Step 5. Add two more circles for headlights.Step 6. Add two small squares for bumpers.Step 7. Add rectangles for windows.Step 8. Add lines for door and handle.  Then you may colour it in however you like.
Step 1. Start with a rectangle for the body of the car.
Step 1. Start with a rectangle for the body of the car.
Step 2. Add a square for the cab.
Step 2. Add a square for the cab.
Step 3. Add two circles for wheels.
Step 3. Add two circles for wheels.
Step 4. Add two more circles for hub caps.
Step 4. Add two more circles for hub caps.
Step 5. Add two more circles for headlights.
Step 5. Add two more circles for headlights.
Step 6. Add two small squares for bumpers.
Step 6. Add two small squares for bumpers.
Step 7. Add rectangles for windows.
Step 7. Add rectangles for windows.
Step 8. Add lines for door and handle.  Then you may colour it in however you like.
Step 8. Add lines for door and handle. Then you may colour it in however you like.
How to draw a car using shapes.
How to draw a car using shapes.

How to Draw a Boxy Car

This tutorial was drawn using a pencil, eraser, and pen.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Rectangle body for the car.Step 2. Smaller rectangle on top.Step 3. Four circles for the wheels and hub caps.Step 4. Two more circles for the headlights.Step 5. Two small squares for bumpers.Step 6. Rectangle windows.Step 7. Lines for doors and handles.  Then colour in how you like.
Step 1. Rectangle body for the car.
Step 1. Rectangle body for the car.
Step 2. Smaller rectangle on top.
Step 2. Smaller rectangle on top.
Step 3. Four circles for the wheels and hub caps.
Step 3. Four circles for the wheels and hub caps.
Step 4. Two more circles for the headlights.
Step 4. Two more circles for the headlights.
Step 5. Two small squares for bumpers.
Step 5. Two small squares for bumpers.
Step 6. Rectangle windows.
Step 6. Rectangle windows.
Step 7. Lines for doors and handles.  Then colour in how you like.
Step 7. Lines for doors and handles. Then colour in how you like.
How to draw a car using shapes.
How to draw a car using shapes.

How to Draw a Round Car

This tutorial was drawn using a pencil, eraser, and pen.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Start with a semi-circle.Step 2. Add four circles for wheels and hub caps.Step 3. Add two small squares for bumpers.Step 4. Add two circles for headlights.Step 5. Make two right angles for front and back windows.Step 6. Add rectangles for windows.Step 7. Add lines for doors and handles.  Then colour in.
Step 1. Start with a semi-circle.
Step 1. Start with a semi-circle.
Step 2. Add four circles for wheels and hub caps.
Step 2. Add four circles for wheels and hub caps.
Step 3. Add two small squares for bumpers.
Step 3. Add two small squares for bumpers.
Step 4. Add two circles for headlights.
Step 4. Add two circles for headlights.
Step 5. Make two right angles for front and back windows.
Step 5. Make two right angles for front and back windows.
Step 6. Add rectangles for windows.
Step 6. Add rectangles for windows.
Step 7. Add lines for doors and handles.  Then colour in.
Step 7. Add lines for doors and handles. Then colour in.
How to draw a boat using shapes.
How to draw a boat using shapes.

How to Draw a Boat

This tutorial was drawn in pen.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Start with a trapezoid.Step 2. Draw a smaller trapezoid on top.Step 3. Add a line and a triangle for a flag.Step 4. Add circle windows.  Then colour in as you like.
Step 1. Start with a trapezoid.
Step 1. Start with a trapezoid.
Step 2. Draw a smaller trapezoid on top.
Step 2. Draw a smaller trapezoid on top.
Step 3. Add a line and a triangle for a flag.
Step 3. Add a line and a triangle for a flag.
Step 4. Add circle windows.  Then colour in as you like.
Step 4. Add circle windows. Then colour in as you like.
How to draw a helicopter.
How to draw a helicopter.

How to Draw a Helicopter

This tutorial was drawn in pencil.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Draw a circle.Step 2. Draw an overlapping triangle or acute angle.Step 3. Draw a triangle.Step 4. Make a point above the helicopter.Step 5. Draw four long acute triangles that touch at the point you created in step 4.  These are the propellers.Step 6. Draw circles or ovals for windows.Step 7. Use lines to make the landing gear.Step 8. Make curved action lines to show the propellers spinning movement.Step 9. Strengthen lines and colour in as desired.
Step 1. Draw a circle.
Step 1. Draw a circle.
Step 2. Draw an overlapping triangle or acute angle.
Step 2. Draw an overlapping triangle or acute angle.
Step 3. Draw a triangle.
Step 3. Draw a triangle.
Step 4. Make a point above the helicopter.
Step 4. Make a point above the helicopter.
Step 5. Draw four long acute triangles that touch at the point you created in step 4.  These are the propellers.
Step 5. Draw four long acute triangles that touch at the point you created in step 4. These are the propellers.
Step 6. Draw circles or ovals for windows.
Step 6. Draw circles or ovals for windows.
Step 7. Use lines to make the landing gear.
Step 7. Use lines to make the landing gear.
Step 8. Make curved action lines to show the propellers spinning movement.
Step 8. Make curved action lines to show the propellers spinning movement.
Step 9. Strengthen lines and colour in as desired.
Step 9. Strengthen lines and colour in as desired.
How to draw a city bus.
How to draw a city bus.

How to Draw a Bus

This tutorial was drawn in pencil.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Start with a rectangle with rounded edges.Step 2. Add four circles for wheels and hub caps.Step 3. Add two rectangles with lines down the middle for the front and back doors.Step 4. Draw rectangles in the front and back of bus for front and back windows.Step 5. Add squares for windows.Step 6. Add squares for bumpers.Step 7. Add circles for headlights.Step 8. Erase unwanted lines, strengthen lines, shade and colour as desired.
Step 1. Start with a rectangle with rounded edges.
Step 1. Start with a rectangle with rounded edges.
Step 2. Add four circles for wheels and hub caps.
Step 2. Add four circles for wheels and hub caps.
Step 3. Add two rectangles with lines down the middle for the front and back doors.
Step 3. Add two rectangles with lines down the middle for the front and back doors.
Step 4. Draw rectangles in the front and back of bus for front and back windows.
Step 4. Draw rectangles in the front and back of bus for front and back windows.
Step 5. Add squares for windows.
Step 5. Add squares for windows.
Step 6. Add squares for bumpers.
Step 6. Add squares for bumpers.
Step 7. Add circles for headlights.
Step 7. Add circles for headlights.
Step 8. Erase unwanted lines, strengthen lines, shade and colour as desired.
Step 8. Erase unwanted lines, strengthen lines, shade and colour as desired.
How to draw a yellow submarine.
How to draw a yellow submarine.

How to Draw a Submarine

This tutorial was created with paper cutouts.

When making paper cutout images, I would recommend drawing all the parts that are attached and the same colour at the same time before cutting them out. In this example I drew all my submarine parts, then added the two additional pieces.

I would also recommend flipping the paper so any pencil marks you make are not visible.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Draw an oval.Step 2. Draw a triangle overlapping the oval.Step 3. Draw a rectangle.Step 4. Draw a semi-circle overlapping the top of the oval.Step 5. Draw a candy cane shape for the periscope. Step 6. Draw circles for the windows.
Step 1. Draw an oval.
Step 1. Draw an oval.
Step 2. Draw a triangle overlapping the oval.
Step 2. Draw a triangle overlapping the oval.
Step 3. Draw a rectangle.
Step 3. Draw a rectangle.
Step 4. Draw a semi-circle overlapping the top of the oval.
Step 4. Draw a semi-circle overlapping the top of the oval.
Step 5. Draw a candy cane shape for the periscope.
Step 5. Draw a candy cane shape for the periscope.
Step 6. Draw circles for the windows.
Step 6. Draw circles for the windows.
How to draw a yellow cab.
How to draw a yellow cab.

How to Draw a Taxicab

This tutorial was created with paper cutouts.

When making paper cutout images, I would recommend drawing all the parts that are attached and the same colour at the same time before cutting them out.

If you need to draw pieces that conform to the shape of another piece (in this example, the windows of the car), trace the base shape on the colour you need (I traced the yellow car on a piece of white paper) then draw the shapes on the tracing.

I would also recommend flipping the paper so any pencil marks you make are not visible.

If you are making a tiny cutout, as I did here, use a tweezer to move the piece easily and a toothpick to add glue.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1. Draw a rectangle.Step 2. Draw a semi-circle on top.Step 3. Draw circles for the wheels.Step 4. Make half a rectangle for the front and back window.Step 5. Draw a rectangle on top for the sign.Step 6. Draw two circles for the headlights.Step 7. Draw two squares for the bumpers.Step 8. Add "TAXI" on the side!
Step 1. Draw a rectangle.
Step 1. Draw a rectangle.
Step 2. Draw a semi-circle on top.
Step 2. Draw a semi-circle on top.
Step 3. Draw circles for the wheels.
Step 3. Draw circles for the wheels.
Step 4. Make half a rectangle for the front and back window.
Step 4. Make half a rectangle for the front and back window.
Step 5. Draw a rectangle on top for the sign.
Step 5. Draw a rectangle on top for the sign.
Step 6. Draw two circles for the headlights.
Step 6. Draw two circles for the headlights.
Step 7. Draw two squares for the bumpers.
Step 7. Draw two squares for the bumpers.
Step 8. Add "TAXI" on the side!
Step 8. Add "TAXI" on the side!

Halloween Characters

Learn how to draw a pumpkin, witch, cat, bat, werewolf, and Frankenstein's monster on my Halloween craft and game Hub.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
How to draw FrankensteinHow to draw a catHow to draw a pumpkinHow to draw a werewolfHow to draw a batHow to draw a witch
How to draw Frankenstein
How to draw Frankenstein
How to draw a cat
How to draw a cat
How to draw a pumpkin
How to draw a pumpkin
How to draw a werewolf
How to draw a werewolf
How to draw a bat
How to draw a bat
How to draw a witch
How to draw a witch

How to Draw a Turkey

Learn how to draw a turkey on my thanksgiving crafts Hub.
Learn how to draw a turkey on my thanksgiving crafts Hub. | Source
Circle for 1, Semi-circle for 2, Triangle for 3, Square for 4, Pentagon for 5, Hexagon for 6, etc. etc.
Circle for 1, Semi-circle for 2, Triangle for 3, Square for 4, Pentagon for 5, Hexagon for 6, etc. etc. | Source

Shape Hopscotch

Here's a spin on Hopscotch to help your young ones learn their shapes! Rather than draw boring old boxes, draw shapes. Or take it a step further and draw shapes with sides that correlate with the number they represent (i.e. Square for 4, Pentagon for 5). When playing Hopscotch gets boring, have fun identifying colours by shading in the Hopscotch shapes.

Try a game of ninja hopscotch to test your shape knowledge and stay active.

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Learning is Fun!

I like to use every opportunity I can to turn playtime into learning time. The key is to go about it in a way that doesn't make play feel like a lesson. Go about these exercises in a lighthearted and carefree manner and you and your kids are bound to enjoy yourselves. Don't frustrate yourself by trying to force the teaching aspect of these activities. Your kids will get it if you make a habit of repetitive play. Just relax and enjoy!

If you had fun doing these exercises with your kids (or just by yourself, that is totally cool) please let me know in the comments below. If you have any requests for subjects to draw using shapes, please feel free to ask.

Comments

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    • ubrish profile image

      ubrish ali 

      3 years ago from Pakistan(Asia)

      Followthestry you did very well .yes through different shapes children get idea about their topic so easily .

    • followthestray profile imageAUTHOR

      Samantha Harris 

      4 years ago from New York

      Added pictures of my Halloween monster shape drawings and a link to my Halloween Hub which demonstrates how to draw them.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      This is a fun post and so very helpful in learning how to help kids learn to draw. Your post is well done. I wish I would have had it when I taught early elementary.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great drawing tutorial! I could have used this a lot earlier, but I might still have some time to be a kid again and draw a fire engine. Thanks!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is really very useful in teaching kids, the drawing techniques!

      Your pictures and explanation is truly helpful and informative.

      Voted up and pinned on my 'education' board! Thanks!

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