Exploring shapes on the table in preschool

Last week, Hands on: as we grow shared an adorable idea for making shape puzzles on the floor. I thought we would use this idea too but we changed it up just a little and put it on a table instead…

Each shape was made by placing tape on the table and then we set out foam shaped blocks that I got from the Target Dollar Spot…

When the children arrived at preschool, they found the foam blocks and shapes waiting for them on the table and it was up to the children to decide how they wanted to use these items…

Some of the children chose to put their blocks on the lines of the shapes…

Some of the children chose to put the blocks inside the shapes…

Most of the children chose to use blocks that matched the color of their tape-shape or they chose to use one single color to work with…

While the children played, I would invite them to tell me what the name of the shape was. Part of the objective was to reinforce the recognition of some basic shapes but this activity is also great for spacial awareness, patterning, sorting, and matching…

We will be doing more with activities such as this on the table – this was simple to prepare and allowed for independent math-play and exploration.

By the way – I purchased this tape from our local United Arts and Education!

By |2011-09-04T12:00:50+00:00September 4th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Jamie @ hands on : as we grow September 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I LOVE the different shapes AND the different colors of tape! We’re definitely doing it again too! And going to try some of your ideas!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the idea Jamie!

  2. [email protected] September 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    I love this idea – pinned for when mine are a little older. What I can use now is that brilliantly simple apple sorting activity on the other table! A great intro to colours and sorting. I’ve been searching the internet for apple activities so thank you!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Two in one!

  3. Scott September 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    A great idea! I’ve used tape letters to build on but I haven’t made tape shapes. Thanks for the idea.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Thank you Scott!

  4. Holly September 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Wonderful idea! I will be using this soon!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      That’s terrific Holly!

  5. Andrea September 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    I’m going to have to extend my class to a whole day if you don’t stop with the good ideas! 😛 Love this one, especially with my younger class.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      I know how you feel- I need a whole day too!

  6. andiejaye September 5, 2011 at 2:10 am - Reply

    the open-endedness of this is what i love the most. supplies and no directions. as a teacher (and a momma) i love to see the different ways two different children go with the same materials.

  7. kristin @preschool daze September 5, 2011 at 9:23 am - Reply

    i was going to do a simple coloring sorting of our inch blocks…but now i’m going to make tape shapes! thanks again.

    : )

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 5, 2011 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Yay! I think both approaches would add new dimension to their play!

  8. Diana September 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    did it this morning with my kids – my octagon was sooo sad looking, but my students loved it! Where did you get the fun foam shapes (heart, stars)? The dollar spot at our target was only square shapes

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      They were at the target too! I wanted to make a circle but it was too hard for me so I ended up with the octagon:)

  9. heather September 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    i love that there’s some guidance, but no specific direction for the children to take. they are learning through their own exploration… it’s beautiful!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Yes- this was very independent but purposeful!

  10. Geometry – ProceMath October 22, 2017 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    […] Stewart, D. (2011) Exploring shapes on the table in preschool. Available at: https://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/04/exploring-shapes-on-the-table-in-preschool/ […]

  11. […] it’s all turns and angles. It really doesn’t matter much. The point of the game is to identify shapes and make some […]

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