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Playdough Shapes: Fun way to Teach Preschoolers Geometry

What better way to teach preschoolers about shapes then by letting them make them?!  Explore 2D and 3D shapes with this hands-on activity using play- dough!  It's a playful way to teach your preschooler or Kindergarten kiddo about geometric shapes such as triangles, squares, and rhombuses! 

teaching shapes to preschoolers with playdough

I love making learning fun in our homeschool...I try anyways! In an effort to do that, I find myself online a lot looking for inspiration.  My search led me to TeachersPayTeachers  where I found some cute printable shapes cards. 

And I decided right then we had to use them!

You just need a few materials and you are ready for some hands-on geometry exploring shapes for your preschooler or elementary aged student!  And if you homeschool with littles underfoot you can just let them explore just with playdough or add in some pipe-cleaners or straws.

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What is Geometry?

Geometry is all about shapes and their properties

For my non-math mind, the term "geometry" sounds really scary.  

You say "Geometry", I say "Huh?!"  

But really, geometry is just a fancy word for learning about shapes-- 2D "flat" shapes, angles, symmetry, and 3D objects are just some of the concepts that encompass the term, geometry! 

Teaching Shapes to Preschoolers

Learn about shapes through hands-on, playful learning activities

What better way to get little kids learning about geometry than by making shapes with a fun, hands-on manipulative like play dough?!


Who knew teaching shapes to preschoolers could be so fun?!  My oldest wanted a chance to build, too!

With using playdough, this activity is great for fine motor skills, too!  There is a lot of pinching, rolling, and squishing involved, requiring use of pincer grasp, thumbs, palms, etc! 

Teaching Shapes with Playdough

Print and laminate the Shape Cards

Grab a tub or two of play dough and a stash of craft sticks {ours came from CraftProjectIdeas}.

Start with one of the shape cards and manipulate the playdough to make several balls. 

Next add in the craft sticks and continue until your shape is made!
learning shapes for kids with playdough

I worked on some basic shapes with Little Sis-- the triangle, square, and rhombus.

This was also a great opportunity to expand my preschooler's vocabulary, as we typically call a rhombus a diamond.

As you construct the shapes talk about the different characteristics of each shape, its sides, and corners.

What makes a triangle a triangle?

How is a triangle different than a rhombus?

geometric shapes activity for kids

On the other side of the table, Big Brother went to work building a hexagon and then kept building off of it.  He ended up creating quite a creation of his own!

hands-on shapes activity with playdough

Here's his completed play dough and craft stick sculpture!  With the toothpicks on top, it reminds me of a castle or fortified city.

Pretty cool!

I just love how presenting my kids with just a few materials sparked an afternoon of learning through play! 

fun play-dough learning activity

It proved to be a great activity to work on math skills, but also allowed for lots of exploration!

A winner for all ages!  You could easily eliminate the shape cards and just allow for free play.  Let your little engineers in the making build to their hearts content and see if they figure out how to make a shape all by themselves.

This hands-on shapes activity is a great way to add a little STEM to your day.

If you gave your child three balls of playdough and 3 craft sticks, what shape could they build?! 

See!  Teaching geometry, which is a fancy word for learning about shapes, doesn't have to be scary!!

..... Now, trigonometry is a whole other issue.  Let's simply not go there : ) 

This activity was originally posted as part of our Fine Motor Fridays Series.  More fine motor activities from our friends:

Learn about our book! 
99 fine motor ideas for ages 1 to 5

1 comment on "Playdough Shapes: Fun way to Teach Preschoolers Geometry"
  1. How fun! I like the sculpture, it reminds me of a castle with little flags on top!


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