Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Learning to identify shapes is fun for young children. It will also help to increase their vocabulary as they learn the word for each shape. Sorting shape also helps the children’s spatial perception. This activity introduces children to some simple shapes and encourages children to name them. There is also a sorting exercise which helps to reinforce shape recognition and also introduces the children to the concept of sorting things out into groups.

Equipment required

  • Music track
  • 4 simple shapes
  • Cut out foam shapes
  • Sorting containers (laundry baskets, buckets, ice cream tubs, washing soap tubs, cardboard shoe boxes, carrier bags, etc). If you do not have anything suitable or prefer to work without containers, then items can simply be sorted underneath the relevant shape picture.

Link to resources


Up to six weeks

How it works

Laminates are fixed onto four walls of the room. Children are encouraged with the use of props and a song to identify four shapes. After learning each shape there is then a short shape sorting activity using the props and sorting containers.

What to do in the class

Begin by holding up a picture of the shape that the children are looking for, naming the shape clearly for them and getting them to repeat the word if possible. Now play the finding song and ask the children to move around the room and encourage them to look for the shape that matches the picture and song. It is expected that some children in class will already be able to identify a shape and others will need more help, so initially guide all the children to the correct shape, letting the more able children lead the way. When the shape is found, there is a ‘reward’ piece of music and a dance to celebrate the achievement.

Once the children have identified each of the shapes they are then each given a laminated shape and during the sorting song, with the parents help if necessary, they have to find the correct shape and place it into the container beneath the shape. Children that find the shapes quickly can be given more objects until the sorting song is complete.

Words to Shape Songs (Oh where oh where has my little dog gone tune)

Oh where oh where can the … be?

Oh where oh where can it be? Walking around the room in time looking for the shape

We are looking for …

We are looking for …

Oh where oh where can it be?


Note – Use vocals removed versions for advanced shapes


When found (Ole Ole Ole Ole tune)

Hooray Hooray Hooray Jumping waving hands

We’ve found the … Point to the Shape

Hooray Hooray Hooray Jumping waving hands

We’ve found the … Point to the Shape


Sorting Song (advanced shapes option)

Sort the shapes and put away

Ready for another day

Can you help me sort them all?

Match to the pictures on the wall

Sort the shapes and put away

Ready for another day


Adaptations for older/younger children

  • The exercise can be progressed by incorporating more challenging shapes.
  • Sorting song – You can test the older children by adding extra shapes to sort that are not included so they question where they go

What to do in a nursery setting

Children do need additional support to complete this, so works best with children over 2.5 years in a nursery setting.


If you have been doing sorting colours previous to this activity, try this twist. Use a large bag of coloured bean bags and get the children to go and place the bean bag you give them, by the coloured shape. Then, when you come to the shape sorting activity start by getting the children to sing the song and find the shapes on the wall. Begin to point out characteristics of the shapes, e.g how many sides, how many corners etc.

Then after a few weeks, get out a large selection of coloured felt shapes, and starts to give them out to all the children whilst the song plays. They then have to go and put their shape by the correct picture before coming back to get another one. For children who struggle, give them a shape whose colour matches the one on the picture. For those who are more advanced, make sure the colours of the shapes don’t match. Its a fantastic way of getting some differentiation into the element!