Exploring shapes and patterns with a toddler and preschooler

How do you explore patterns and shapes with young children? I was asked this question recently, so I thought I would write a post on what we have done so far. Most of these ideas have come from other blogs or pinterest or just a matter of using what we already had at home.

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My toddler loves this ikea shape sorter. This is an activity that he can do on his own. He knows the names of the colours and shapes.

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A toddler shape puzzle. My toddler hasn’t been using this lately but it was his favourite material to use from age approx 11 months.

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This was the second shape puzzle that my toddler still loves. The triangle shape is a bit tricky though. Not a great fit on the puzzle board.

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My toddler is currently working on using this shape matching puzzle.

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Our 3D Geo shapes. I have posted about these a few times already and they are still popular shelf materials. In this picture my eldest is matching them up, but her favourite way to use the wooden geometric shapes is in a mystery bag guessing game. She loves to feel each shape, without being able to see it in the bag and guess which one it is.

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Shape stencils. My eldest loves these. She has been using these stencils for a long time now. She still loves to trace the shapes but has been working on now cutting the shapes out.

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Shape cutting and using paper strips to practice scissor cutting.

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Here my eldest has drawn her own shapes and is trying to cut them out.

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Pin poking.

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This involves a lot of concentration and patience.

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These are Melissa and Doug Pattern blocks. I have also written a few posts about these. The pattern block come with the boards to make pictures.

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Here I have taken out the boards and left the tray on the shelf with pattern blocks in the left side and tangram shapes on the right side.

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Tangram shapes being used in the above picture.

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Making pattern shapes with these plastic connectors.

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More patterns.

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Magnetic pattern blocks. These are great, my eldest loves them.

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Hammer and tap patterns.

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Peg board.

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Geoboard.

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Paper weaving

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Cuisenaire rods.

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Copy the pattern, using beads on pipe cleaners.

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Gluing and pasting shapes (triangles). I will often cut out other shapes and leave them in this basket for both of my children to use. My toddler loves to glue and paste with paper.

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Paper cutters. We have stars, hearts and butterfly shape. We also have circle shapes cutters.

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Leaf rubbing patterns.

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Template leaf rubbing.

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There are so many ways to explore shapes and patterns. A book we love to use is The Montessori Shape Book.

Shape Work

I would love to hear if you have any other ideas or suggestions.

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3 thoughts on “Exploring shapes and patterns with a toddler and preschooler

    1. Hi S Danish, I just looked this up on the Ikea website and it’s called MULA Shape sorter. House (wooden) with removable roof (plastic) and the shapes are coloured plastic.

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