Shape worksheets for preschoolers (2-4 year olds)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Shape worksheets for preschoolers (2-4 year olds)

Age

For 2 to 4 year olds.

Duration of activity

This activity can last for 20 minutes or longer.

Materials/equipment

Cost

The cost of this activity should be minimal as these are materials you would already have at home.

How to use these worksheets

These worksheets should be used as a fun learning activity you can complete with your child. Depending on your child’s age, ability and response you may want to do all or just a few of the worksheets and/or extension activities. Some of the worksheets are much more complex than others, and some of the extension activities will be too difficult for most four year olds. Remember every child is different in terms of their ability and interests!

If your four year old is a budding genius with a thing for shapes, they might just be able to complete all the worksheets and extension activities before their fifth birthday. But if your child, like most others, is a happy normal child and prefers animals to shapes, or is more interested in activities that get their body moving than those that require them to sit still, they’re more likely to be content with just completing the basic activities.

Watch your child’s cues and let your child lead you. If they don’t show much interest, don’t push, you don’t want to put them off doing these sorts of activities with you. If they struggle, help them out and allow them to complete the basic worksheets several times until they master them. If they seem to love shapes but hate sitting inside with colouring pencils, think about learning shapes outdoors with chalk or sticks. But if they enjoy the activities and keep asking for more, these worksheets should keep you and your pre-schooler happily learning about shapes for quite some time.

Preparation

What to do

  • For these activities, your child can use either a pencil or felt tip pen. At this age children may find a bright thick texta pen easier to hold and mark the shapes with.coloured pencils
  • Activity 1: This worksheet contains two copies of each basic shape, one on the right and one on the left hand side of the page.
    • Ask your child to name all the shapes on the left and right hand sides of the page.
    • Talk to them about the features of each shape as they say the names, for example whether or not the sides are straight or curved and how many sides it has.
    • Ask your child to draw a line between matching shapes. Encourage them to draw the line as straight as they possibly can, as this will provide extra opportunities for your child to develop the muscles that control their fingers.
    • Extension activities for four year olds: give your child a ruler to help them draw a straight line between the matching shapes. They will develop hand eye coordination and fine motor skills as they try to hold the ruler still with one hand and move the pencil with the other. It’s also a chance to discuss numbers and how the numbers on the ruler get bigger (e.g. from 1-30) and longer lines reach bigger numbers.
    • Optional extra: Ask your child to colour the matching shapes on each side of the page the same colour. If your child is still a toddler you might prefer just to get them to colour all the shapes whichever colour they like.
  • Activity 2: This worksheet contains between 1-4 copies of each basic shape (circle, square, equilateral triangle).
    • Ask your child to point out all matching shapes and count how many there are.
    • Talk to them about the features of each shape as they say the names, for example whether or not the sides are straight or curved and how many sides it has.
    • Ask them to colour or mark each of the shapes in a certain colour and use the opportunity to discuss colours as well. For example colour all the triangles red and all the squares blue.
    • When your child has finished colouring, ask them to count the number of each shape again.
    • Ask your child to complete the sentences at the bottom of the page by writing the correct numeral in the thought bubble. If your child is still a toddler writing numerals will be beyond their ability level- you could help them draw the numbers holding their hand or draw the numerals for them and talk to them as you go (e.g. this is how I write number 2).
  • Activity 3: This worksheet contains basic shapes drawn with dotted lines that your child can trace over.
    • Ask your child to identify the basic shapes on the page and say the names.
    • Ask them to draw each shape by copying over the dotted line.
    • As they copy the lines talk to them about whether or not the lines they are drawing are straight or curved and how many different sides the square and triangle have.
    • When they have finished drawing the shapes, ask them to colour each shape a different colour.
  • Activity 4: These worksheets contain basic shapes as well as rectangles and ovals. Use it when your child is familiar with all the basic shapes on Activity sheets 1 and 2.
    • 1st sheet
      • Ask your child to name all the shapes on the left and right hand sides of the page.
      • Talk to them about the features of each shape as they say the names, for example whether or not the sides are straight or curved and how many sides it has.
      • Talk about the similarities and differences between ovals and circles (e.g. that both have curved sides, but an oval is longer in one direction than the other)
      • Talk about the similarities and differences between squares and rectangles (e.g. that both have four straight sides, but a rectangle has two long and two short sides, whereas all sides of the square are the same length).
      • Ask your child to draw a line between matching shapes on the left and right hand sides of the page.
      • Ask your child to colour the shapes on each side of the page. For pre-schoolers ask them to colour matching shapes the same colour.
    • 2nd sheet
      • Now take the second activity sheet with the truck picture and ask your child to identify and name the square, rectangle, triangle and circles.
      • Talk to your child about where they see these shapes around the house and out on the street, using examples from the picture. For example you could say, “the trailer of a truck is a rectangle. What other things can you think of that are a rectangle shape?”
      • Talk to them about the features of each shape and the similarities and differences between them. For example, the circle is different because it has a curved side and the other shapes have straight sides.
      • Now colour the small shapes in the instructions at the top of the page- let your child choose what colour they would like to use for each shape and do the colouring if they would like. Write the name of the colour on the line to complete the sentence. Ask your child to read the sentence- even if they are too young to read, they will probably be able to pretend after a couple of tries, as they will see the shape and the colour there.
      • Ask your child to colour the picture, using the correct colour for each of the different shapes (e.g. all circles should be the same colour). Help them as they go by asking them which shape they are about to colour and which colour they should use.
  • Activity 5: This worksheet contains circles and ovals. Use it when your child is already familiar with the shape of a circle.
    • Ask your child to point out all the circles and all the ovals on the first page (they are scattered over the page).Boy with book
    • Talk to them about the features of circles (e.g. that they are round and even).
    • Talk to them about the features of ovals (e.g. that they are round like circles but they have one long and one short side).
    • Ask your child to colour all the circles one colour, and all the ovals a different colour.
    • Now start on the second page, which has the circles and ovals arranged into a bear’s face. Get your child to point out the circles and ovals and talk about the features that are the same and those that are different.
    • Ask them to colour all the circles yellow and the ovals red.
  • Activity 6: These worksheets contain squares and rectangles. Use it when your child is already familiar with the shape of a square.
    • 1st sheet
      • Take the first worksheets and ask your child to point out all the squares and all the rectangles on the first page.
      • Talk to them about the features of squares (e.g. that they have four straight sides and all the sides are the same length).
      • Talk to them about the features of rectangles (e.g. that they four straight sides like a square but they have two long sides and two short sides).
      • Ask your child to colour all the squares one colour, and all the rectangles a different colour.
    • 2nd sheet
      • Now look at the second page which has a picture of a robot made from squares and rectangles. Ask your child to point out all the squares and rectangles.
      • Complete the instructions at the top of the page by colouring the shape and writing the name of the colour you have used on the corresponding line- let your child choose what colour they would like to use for each shape and do the colouring if they would like. Let your child read the sentence- even if they are too young to read, they will probably work it out by looking at the shape and the colour.
      • Ask your child to colour all the squares the same colour as the square in the instructions.
      • Ask your child to count all the squares they have coloured and record the correct number in the space provided. If they get stuck or miss one or more of the squares, given them a helping hand.
      • Your child can also colour all the rectangles according to the colour in the instructions, and count them when they have finished the colouring.
    • 3rd sheet
      • Now look at the third activity sheet: night in the city. Ask your child to point out all the squares and rectangles.
      • Talk to them about the features of squares and rectangles (e.g. all sides straight and angles even) as well as the similarities and differences between them (e.g. rectangles have two long sides whereas squares are the same length on all sides).
      • Ask your child what other shapes they see on the page. They should be able to identify stars and the moon (but probably won’t yet know the mathematical names pentagon and crescent).
      • Talk to them about where they see these shapes in their day to day life. For example say, “The tall buildings are rectangles. What other things do you see outside that are rectangles?”
      • Complete the instructions by colouring the shapes and writing the name of the colour.
      • Ask your child to colour all the shapes the same colour as they are coloured in the instructions (e.g. all squares red and all stars yellow).
      • If your child’s four years old and really interested in shapes, you could introduce them to the functions of a ruler, by measuring the length of the sides of the squares and rectangles on this worksheet. But don’t be disappointed if they’re not interested or can’t work it out- most children won’t start using a ruler until they’re a bit older.
  • Activity 7: These worksheets contain circles, squares, equilateral triangles, ovals and rectangles. Use it when your child can correctly identify all the basic shapes on Activity sheets 1 and 2.
    • 1st – 5th sheets
      • Ask your child to point out all matching shapes and count how many of each shape there are.
      • Talk to them about the features of each shape as they say the names, for example whether or not the sides are straight or curved and how many sides it has.
      • Talk about the similarities and differences between ovals and circles (e.g. that both have curved sides, but an oval is longer in one direction that the other)
      • Talk about the similarities and differences between squares and rectangles (e.g. that both have four straight sides, but a rectangle has two long and two short sides, whereas all sides of the square are the same length).
      • Ask your child to colour or mark each of the shapes in a certain colour and use the opportunity to discuss colours as well. For example colour all the ovals yellow and all the circles green.
      • When your child has finished colouring, ask them to count the number of each shape again.
      • Ask your child to complete the sentences at the bottom of the page by writing the correct numeral in the space. If your child is still a toddler writing numerals will be beyond their ability level- you could help them draw the numbers holding their hand or draw the numerals for them and talk to them as you go (e.g. this is how I write number 2).
    • 6th sheetgirl-drawing
      • The remaining activity sheet is a shape house. Ask your child to point to all the different shapes in the house and say the name of each shape as they go.
      • Discuss the features of each shape including the size, length, and whether or not the sides are straight or curved.
      • Talk to your child about other places in the house these shapes are found, for example say, “the door knob is a circle. What other things in our house are the shape of a circle?”
      • Complete the instructions at the top of the page by colouring the shapes and writing the corresponding colour name on the line.
      • Ask your child to colour the house according to the instructions. Talk to them about the colours as you go.
      • When they have finished colouring they may like to count how many of each different shape is in the house picture.
    • 7th sheet
      • Now take the second activity sheet with the bicycle and ask your child to point to the different shapes they see and say the name of the shape aloud. Discuss the features of the different shapes as you go (e.g. round or straight sides) and the similarities and differences between them.
      • Get your child to count all the circles, rectangles and triangles.
      • Complete the instructions at the top of the page by colouring each shape a different colour and then writing the name of the colour on the line provided. Let your child choose the colours they will use for each shape.
      • Ask your child to read the instructions- even if they can’t read yet, they can pretend they are reading, using the shape and colour they see to make up the sentence.
      • Ask your child to colour the picture, using the correct colour for each of the different shapes). Help them as they go by asking them which shape they are about to colour and which colour they should use. Talk to them about the colours as you go.
      • As an extension activity you could get your child to identify different types of triangles. This will be beyond the ability of most four year olds but some rare children with a real thing for shapes will enjoy and learn from this extension activity. Ask your child to point out the right angled triangles and all the isosceles triangles. Talk about the similarities and differences between the different types of triangles (e.g. they both have straight side, the isosceles triangle always has two sides the same length whereas the right angled triangle doesn’t).
  • Activity 8: This worksheet contains basic shapes, ovals and rectangles drawn with dotted lines that your child can trace over.
    • Ask your child to identify each shape on the page and say its name.
    • Ask them to draw each shape by copying over the dotted line.
    • As they copy the lines, talk to them about whether or not the lines they are drawing are straight or curved and how many different sides the square and triangle have.
    • Discuss the similarities and differences between the shapes, particularly how circles and ovals, squares and rectangles are similar and different.
    • When they have finished drawing the shapes, ask them to colour each shape a different colour.

Extension activities

  • As you do this activity with your child, talk about each shape and objects that they see every day around house and outside which are the same shape (e.g. circles are round and roll well because they have no edges like balls and wheels).
  • It is good to pick out objects which represent the shapes you are demonstrating from toys or common household objects, but you could also talk about body parts or pictures you see in books (e.g. a square house with a triangle roof).
  • For four year olds, you could also discuss the position of each of the different shape on the page, for example that the circle is at the bottom on the page and the square is above the circle.
  • Use cookie cutters or containers for your child to practice drawing basic shapes by tracing around the outside.
  • You could make your own stencils for children by cutting shapes out of thick card (an old show box works well) or old cardboard. You can use our shape flash cards as a template for this.
  • If you speak a second language with your child, complete the activity in another language.
  • Pick and choose which of the activities you do based on your child’s age and abilities. Toddlers may only be able to do the first three activities involving basic shapes and may enjoy repeating this several times, whereas older children may skip straight to the harder activities in which rectangles and ovals are added to the basic shapes (activities 4-8).

Educational outcomes

Language and literacy skills

Talking about the shapes as you complete this activity is a great way to help your child develop their language and literacy skills. Younger children will learn basic language skills like how to put words together in a sentence. They’ll also learn new words as you discuss the shapes and, for example the objects in the house or body parts which are the same shape. They’ll also have a chance to practice pronouncing new or difficult words as you discuss the shapes.

The shapes activity is also great for expanding your child’s mathematical vocabulary, that is, teaching them the words they need to know to describe mathematical concepts. All the words you use when discussing the similarities and differences between the shapes (e.g. sides, length, straight, curved) refer to concepts which provide an important foundation for future mathematical ability. Toddlers have generally already developed a basic mathematical vocabulary, that is they know words to describe concepts like size and colour. Providing them an opportunity to use the words they already know is a key way of helping them develop their language skills. Talking to them in clear, simple sentences to introduce them to new words is also important.

The worksheets which have instructions detailing which colour to use for each of the shapes (e.g. colour all the circles circle yellow) provide a great opportunity to develop your child’s early literacy skills. Even if they cannot yet read, they will be able to work out what the sentences say by looking at the shape and its colour and pretend to read the sentence. It’s a great way to develop their understanding of the relationship between printed and spoken words, and other basic literacy concepts (e.g. words are printed from left to right across the page).

Mathematics skills

The mathematical skills your child develops doing the shapes activities will depend on their age and which of the activities you choose to complete.

Toddlers for example:baby-book

  • May be able to recognise different colours but may still be learning to say the right words (e.g. they can identify all the red objects but they may tell you they’re all blue).
  • Can learn to correctly identify the correct number in a small group of shapes (e.g. 2-3 circles) however they’re probably not old enough yet to correctly identify how many shapes in a larger group (e.g. five squares).
  • Can use basic mathematical language to describe the size of the shapes (i.e. whether they are big and small) but are usually still developing the vocabulary need to describe size in more complex terms (e.g. short and long).

Three year olds for example:

  • Are developing their understanding of more complex concepts of size like longer and shorter, and will have an opportunity to practice and master these.
  • Should be able to count groups of three objects without any trouble but may still be developing the skills to count larger groups of shapes.
  • Experiment with measuring tools like a ruler, for example to compare longer and shorter lines.

Four year olds:

  • May be able to use or develop mathematical language to describe more specific concepts of size, for example rectangles or ovals which are longer and shorter.
  • Are developing the skills needed to use comparative words to discuss the similarities and differences between shapes.
  • Exploring mathematical language to describe the position of objects on the page, for example identifying that the rectangle is above the circle.
  • Can typically identify objects of the same colour and correctly name the colour.
  • Count groups of up to ten objects, for example 8 circles or 10 stars.
  • Use their problem solving skills to independently work out how to colour the shapes according to the instructions (for the worksheets with instructions about which colour to use for each shape).

Social and communication skills
Children develop a range of social and communication skills from the seemingly simple act of having a conversation. Toddlers are still learning the basic rules of conversation, for example to respond when someone asks them a question and to take turns speaking. Preschoolers will have the opportunity to practice putting words together in sentences and will provide more complex answers to the questions you ask. Four year olds will probably be asking lots of how and why questions of their own as well. All the conversations you have during this activity will be helping them develop the skills they need to socialise and communicate effectively.

Fine motor skills
This activity provides opportunities for your child to practice holding a pen, pencil or texta and practicing colouring, tracing over dotted lines and writing numerals on the page. As they do so they are developing the muscles in their fingers which give them the control needed to make fine movements. These muscles will help them to do everything from write to turn the pages of books later in life.

Tasks that require greater control, will develop little finger muscles more than those which require less control. For example drawing a straight line requires more control than drawing a squiggle. Children can generally draw squiggles before 18 months of age, but it is not until age 2-2 ½ that they develop the ability to draw straight lines. Activity 1, which involves drawing lines between matching shapes is a great opportunity for your child to practice controlled drawing. Incorporating a ruler which requires your child to use two hands simultaneously will increase the complexity of this task. It’s a good activity for children who are beginning to demonstrate strength and dexterity in their fingers. This usually happens between 3-4 years of age.

Persistence and problem solving skills
Doing this activity will help your child learn to persist, and also develop their ability to solve problems independently. Toddlers probably won’t persist for long unless you’re there to encourage them and help them when they get stuck. But at this age knowing when to ask for help is an important problem solving skill, so encourage them to ask you if they’re stuck. Four year olds will be developing the ability to solve problems like how to identify all the same shapes independently. They’re also developing the tenacity to persist, even if the activity is challenging.

As your child works through this activity they will be solving a problem (how to identify, for example, all the squares) and developing the reasoning skills to solve similar problems in the future. The worksheets with instructions about which colour to use for each shape provide an opportunity for children to solve problems independently- it’s important to encourage pre-schoolers to work independently where they can, but make sure you’re on hand to assist them if they get stuck. By about four years of age most children are able to sort and classify objects based on similarities and differences, and use appropriate language to describe their choices.

References

  1. Virginia Early Childhood Development Alignment Program. Milestones of child development- A guide to young children’s learning and development from birth to kindergarten. 2009. (cited 26 July 2013). Available from: (URL Link)
  2. Queensland Health. Physical and cognitive milestones. 2007. (cited 31 July 2013). Available from: (URL Link)
  3. Metropolitan Community College of Nevada. Development Milestones for Children. Undated. (cited 16 March 2014). Available from: (URL Link)
Date Created: November 15, 2013 Date Modified: December 14, 2014

Related Posts

 
close

Join our FREE monthly Newsletter!

Simply enter your email and first name below:

Parenthub respects your privacy. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.
Please read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.