Shape art activities for preschoolers

Written by stacy d. cooper
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Shape art activities for preschoolers
Use foam sticker shapes to make a house. (coloured shapes image by Leslie Batchelder from

One of the simplest ways to teach preschoolers about shapes is to use art. Preschoolers are active learners who learn best by performing actions. Through art activities, kids are able to touch, identify, draw, manipulate and discover shapes. These activities will help children learn to recognise the shapes of different letters. Shapes also help kids understand concepts like round things rolling and pointed items poking.

Baker's Hat

The First School website suggests teaching children as young as 2 years old to use circles, squares and rectangles to make a baker's hat. The process allows teachers to practice shapes and counting with preschoolers at the same time. Have the preschoolers attach overlapping circles to the top of a square to create a bubbly looking hat. Staple rectangular strips to the bottom sides of the square to make headbands. The circles will mimic the top of the baker's hat, while the height of the hat will come from the square.

Dream Book

Purchase foam stickers in the shapes of squares, circles, rectangles, stars, ovals and octagons and separate them into different piles. Give the preschoolers a small "dream book" made by stapling blank pieces of paper together. Have the students place a circle-shaped sticker on the first page and encourage them to create a picture around the sticker. For example, the circle can become a head and the students can draw the body. A large square can become the base of a house. Repeat with the other shapes.

Simon Says

Give your preschoolers fingerpaint and black construction paper to draw on. Show them how to draw an oval, then tell them it is their turn. They will have fun getting their hands dirty as they attempt to mimic you. If the preschoolers are good listeners, you can turn it into a game of Simon Says. Tell them, "Simon says draw a square," and hold up a picture of a square. After they do so, say, "Draw a rectangle." The students will giggle as you laughingly rebuke those who drew the rectangle without Simon telling them to.

Shape Train

Preschoolers can practice their cutting skills while making a shape train. The Everything Preschool website suggests using construction paper cutouts of circles, triangles, squares and rectangles to create an old-fashioned train. Glue the circles, or wheels, to the bottom of the square. The square is the train's body. Add a rectangle to the top of the square to make a smokestack. Finish the train by gluing the triangle to the front of the square to mimic the pilot part of a train. Kids will be interested to learn the pilot was used to move animals off the train track as the train travelled.

Ice Cream Cones

Teach kids how to make their favourite ice cream cones by pre-cutting large cone shapes out of brown construction paper and "scoops" of ice cream out of pastel coloured paper. Tell the kids to make their favourite ice cream cone with up to five flavours of "ice cream." Cut pieces of paper into triangular shapes to use as sprinkles on the ice cream.

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