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Shape Sorting

Read more about activities for young children. Learn about recognizing and matching shapes with this fun activity called Shape Sorting.

Activity 11: Recognizing and matching shapes


Pre-cut paper shapes (5 each of circle, square, triangle), each about 1 inch across; 3 small plastic bowls

Try It Out:

  1. Place the 3 small plastic bowls and the cut-out shapes in front of your child.
  2. Place a circle in the first bowl, a square in the second bowl, and a triangle in the last bowl.
  3. Pointing to the pile of remaining shapes, ask: “Can you put a circle in the bowl with the other circle?”
    • If your child adds a circle to the correct bowl, say: “That’s right! That’s a circle.”
    • If your child selects the wrong shape, say: “Oops! That’s a square. Here’s the circle.”
  4. Repeat for each of the other shapes. For example, “This is a triangle. Where does the triangle go?”
  5. Repeat with the remaining circles, squares, and triangles.

Making the Most of This Activity:

  1. Try this activity with shapes of different sizes. You can cut out small, medium, and large circles, squares, and triangles for your child to sort.
  2. If your child can correctly sort circles, triangles, and squares, introduce rectangles.


Was your child able to match the shapes? If not, he may not be quite ready for this activity. You might start with just 2 bowls and 2 shapes, and work up from there.


American Institute for Research

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