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How to Teach Shapes to Young Kids

Updated on March 10, 2015
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and have been teaching for more than 30 years. I also write fiction and non-fiction stories.

Teaching Shapes

Teaching shapes is a fun activity for the kids. If you provide enough activities, the more they will have fun which will result in a more productive learning.

To start teaching the kids about shapes; you need all your visual aids prepared. I is also goo dif you can use colorful shapes so that the children can see the shapes more clearly and understand them better.

Nowadays, teaching young kids is not as hard as they used to be thirty years ago. This is because most people today are exposed to so many things; kids included.

The Circle

Begin by saying, “Our new lesson for today is about shapes.” Show a shape to the kids. I usually start with circle which is what I find easy for the kids to understand and memorize.

Say; “This is a circle. It is round. It’s like the wheel of the cars and the bowl you use for eating.”

Show the shape again and ask the kids, “What shape is this, children?” Some kids can answer but some cannot remember the shape you discussed. It is understandable of course because it is their first time to learn about the shape.

Again, it is always good to repeat the word circle so that the children will understand it more and they will pronounce the word right. This is true when you are teaching non-English speaking kids. Non-English speaking kids cannot grasp the shape you are teaching immediately because the English words they hear are always foreign to them. This is why you should pronounce the words well and let them follow.

It is important to use different objects that have the shape of the circle when introducing the shape to the young kids.

Here are objects that you can use to show the circle.

  • jar cover
  • shape-o-toys
  • circle blocks
  • wheel of a toy car
  • plastic plate
  • paper plate
  • circular box
  • circular lid

You can use anything circle as visual aid for the children to see. The more circular things you present to the kids the better they will understand what a circle is.

More Activities for Teaching Circle:


Let the children guess what you are hiding behind your back by describing the things thoroughly so that the kids can guess what the object is.

For example:

“I have here something at my back. It is circle. The car has it so that it can run. The bike also has this thing. It can be big or small but the color is always black. Your toy car also has this thing. It makes your toy car roll. What is it?”

You don’t expect all the kids to be able to answer correctly but at least some will try to answer. If they cannot answer correctly then show the object and let them tell what it is.

Again, ask the shape of the wheel.

Show and Tell

Show and tell is commonly used in every lesson for the little kids. This is a fun activity but you need many objects in order for the kids to enjoy reciting.


Tracing is an activity that is good for enhancing motor skills. It also teaches the children to know the right direction when tracing. Whatever goal you want achieved, always concentrate on the most important thing. The kids are tracing the circle because you are teaching them about shape. So, it is not important if they cannot trace the shape very well.

Activity Sheets

Different activity sheets are needed for this lesson. The more paper works the kids do, the better they will understand what a shape is.

Here are some activity sheet directions that you can use to teach circle.

  1. Color all the circles.
  2. Color the object that has the same shape as the object on the left.
  3. Put a ring around all the circles.
  4. Draw a circle in the box.
  5. Draw a line on the object that matches the shape at the left.

The Square

After 5 days of teaching the circle, the next shape to teach is the square. You can follow the same steps when you taught the circle. You can play games, trace squares, draw squares, show some objects that the kids can identify and do some activity sheets about square.

Here are some things that you can use to introduce square to the kids.

  • A square clock
  • A square box
  • A square canister
  • A square organizer
  • A square book
  • A square block
  • A square card
  • A square cardboard
  • A square handkerchief

You can use anything that has a square shape when you teach square. It is important also that you teach the children that a square has 4 equal sides.

The Triangle

First, you have to introduce triangle to the kids by showing different triangular shaped objects. When you show a triangle, tell the kids that a triangle has 3 sides.

You can follow the steps when you taught circle.

Here are some objects that you can use to show triangle.

  • A triangular block
  • A triangular hat
  • A triangular box
  • A triangular canister
  • A triangular toy

Here is a fun activity that you can do with the kids.

The best way to introduce triangle to the young kids is to let them make a triangular hat by using the paper folding. This is an interesting activity since the kids will make their own hat while teaching them about triangle.

Colorful Triangular Hat from Old Magazine

The Rectangle

When you introduce rectangle to the kids, explain to them that the shape has two long sides and two short sides. This is the easiest way by which the kids will understand the shape.

Again, you can follow the steps when you taught the other shapes. Show objects that are rectangular in shape.

Here are some objects with a rectangular shape.

  • A notebook
  • A book
  • A block
  • A box
  • A pencil case
  • An eraser
  • A canister
  • A rectangular toy

You can use anything that is rectangular in shape to teach rectangle.

The Oblong/Oval

The best oblong object to use when you introduce the shape oblong or oval is the egg. Show the kids an egg and tell them that the egg is oblong or oval. Then show other objects as well so that they will learn more about other oblong or oval objects.

Here are some oblong/oval objects.

  • An egg
  • A canister
  • An organizer
  • A block
  • A picture frame
  • A plate
  • A container

You can give examples of oval things also that are in the room, like a table or a mirror.

© 2013 Felisa Daskeo


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