One of the best ways for children to learn about shapes is to create with them. Simple collage projects like this shape craft are easy to send home for remote learning or do at the art table during free-choice time. While this shape craft has a fall theme with autumn leaves, you can do this activity with any season. You can also use any shapes for this shape craft, I decided to focus on circles, rectangles, and triangles, but any shapes will work. I like doing this as a free choice art project vs. a whole class lesson because there is no wrong way to do this, don’t provide a sample, just the shapes, paper, and glue and let your students create.
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Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper in various colors. I am using what I have on hand, which is a few shades of brown, red, orange, and green. You will also need a plain full sheet of construction paper for the base and scissors and glue. In a classroom, have scissors available for every child and a bottle of glue. Squishing and squeezing glue out of the bottle is excellent for hand strength development.
Cut out shapes.
I used a paper punch for the circles but freehanded the triangles.
I like to use different kinds of triangles, so my students start to learn that triangles don’t all look exactly alike.
I cut out large rectangles for the trunks and smaller ones for branches but don’t call them that – your students may have a different idea in mind for how to construct their tree out of these shapes.
I started with the trunk.
Then leaves, but my way may not be the process your students choose to take, let them decide and create.
Make sure you have scissors on hand for them to make adjustments to the shapes you provided.
Look at that beautiful shape tree!
Books About Shapes
Perfect Square by Michael Hall is a story about reinventing yourself when your shape is no longer “perfect.” What I love about this book is that not only does it help you teach about squares, it teaches about creativity, how to roll with the punches, and the days of the week. It’s a beautiful book.
Tangled by Anne Miranda is a rhyming tale about many shapes that get stuck inside a jungle gym and the shapes that figure out a way to rescue them. This book is a fun read that labels a wide variety of shapes naturally as the story progresses. The fun illustrations will enchant your child, and because this is a rhyming book, it is a ton of fun to read to a group.
Dinosaur Shapes by Paul Stickland will delight you and your dinosaur fan. The book is geared towards toddlers and young preschoolers who are still mastering finding basic shapes. A shape is displayed on one side of the page, and then those silly dinosaurs are playing with it on the other. My son loves dinosaurs, so even though he’s known these shapes for ages it’s an enjoyable book with fun text and adorable illustrations by Henrietta Stickland.
Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute book that not only helps teach shapes; it is also entertaining! The three crafty mice use the shapes to protect themselves from one hungry cat. Finally using them to make scary mice to frighten the cat away! Kids love to help find which shapes are used in the illustrations. The older ones can even anticipate what the mice will make next!