While most of what I teach in a preschool setting is done by “units”, shapes and colors are something we tackle right away. Since I teach 4K, I expect them to have a good grasp on shape and color recognition from the beginning. We go through each color and shape quickly (one a day over the first couple weeks of school) so I can see where they stand on recognition. Then we focus on learning the color words and how to draw shapes.
Shape and color learning activities can often go hand in hand – learning both at the same time – so that’s why I combined them into one post.
Here are the colors we learn to identify and spell:
And the shapes we do in 4K are:
I’ve been debating on adding octagon to that list since it’s a common one and we talk about it when we’re learning about stop signs.
- Color/Shape Hunt Duplicate the basic shapes on different colors of construction paper and cut out (just make sure that all the shapes are the same color (all circles are blue, all squares are yellow, etc, etc.) Glue one set of shapes on a large piece of paper or posterboard or on paper lunch sacks (one shape on each bag). “Hide” the rest of the shapes around the house and have your child find them and match them up to the correct bag or spot on the “board”. Identifying each shape and color as they find it.
- Create a Color Wheel on a paper plate. You can instruct the child on what color to make each “slice”. For Bug, since he knows his colors and we’re working on words, I wrote the words and let him pick the correct colors to make each slice.
Color Wheel Game:Toss a button or penny onto the color wheel. Identify the color it landed on and name something that is that color.
- Check out our color learning ice cream scoop craft.
- Mixing Paint Colors: Teach kids about mixing colors by taking two of the primary colors (blue, red, yellow) and putting a squirt or two of tempra paint in a Ziploc freezer bag, seal it well (usually I tape the edges down to the table with masking tape) and let your child squish and smear it around to mix the two colors together. Then you can paint with the results!
- Use shape stencils and just have fun practicing drawing shapes. At first your child is just going to place them randomly on the paper and trace. With time you can help them create objects using the shape stencils. (triangle on top of rectangle for tree, triangle on top of square for house, etc.) You can use your mixed colors paint to paint your creations.
- Draw shapes on (coarse) sandpaper and cut out. Place tracing paper over shapes and let children create “rubbings”. Kids learn alot through their sense of touch. This is a fun activity – especially for ones who have never felt sandpaper before. You can also have them close their eyes and feel one of the sandpaper shapes and see if they can identify the shape.
- Create pictures using simple shapes. You can give them a specific object to recreate at first (like this truck that we did). Or you can cut out a ton of shapes and let them create their own pictures. Bug was working on a train in this picture. Which is what he’s made 2 out of the 3 times we’ve done this. LOL (And yes, he was dressed as Jake from The Neverland Pirates… I felt blessed that he actually agreed to wear clothes this day, even if it were a costume.)
- Round up items in recognizable shapes and put in a paper bag and let your child reach in an identify the shape of the object. Bouncy ball, square/rectangle blocks, plastic Easter egg, etc.
- Read books about shapes and colors. Here are some of our favorites:
- Check out my Pinterest Board devoted to Preschool Color/Shape Learning activities
There are tons of crafts, ideas, and free printable worksheets pinned there!