Five Ways to Use a Shape-Sorter for Distance Learning


a picture of child using a shape-sorter

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What is a Shape-Sorter?

A shape sorter is an educational toy that includes shapes like circle, parallelogram, quatrefoil, square, diamond, oval, and pentagon. A child usually places the shapes into correct holes that match their shapes. I love the shape-sorter by Melissa and Doug!  It is colorful and it also rolls which is fun for the kids. My daughter loves to match the shapes and colors! It contains primary and secondary colors.

Since we are all at home doing distance learning, I wanted to share 5 differentiations I used with my shape-sorter. These activities kept my 5 year old engaged while she learned some great math vocabulary as well as helped her fine motor skills.

Vocabulary You Can Use

primary and complementary colors
organic and geometric shapes

Five Different Ways I Used the Shape-Sorter

1) Roll and Match:
For an individual child: roll the shape sorter and put in the shapes matching the color that shows up.
For partners: 1 person rolls and the other person puts shapes in.
2) Trace the shapes:
Have student place the 3D shape on a flat side. For older students, explain that the shape is called a prism, so it’s a long tube of the same shape. The shapes on top and bottom are identical.  Have student trace the shape on a plain piece of white paper with a matching color. You may need multiple sheets of paper.
Partners: Each partner traces the shapes, then switch papers.
picture of child tracing shapes
Challenge! Have your student use complementary colors to trace the shapes.
Extension: Before explaining the concept, buy a roll of Pillsbury cookie dough with shapes in the center. Encourage your children to notice that the shape is the same anywhere you cut the dough. This is the same concept as a prism.
Image result for pillsbury shape sugar cookies

3) Match each prism:

 Have your child match each prism to the 2D shape they traced on the paper.
Challenge: Partner up and race or race against the clock.

4)  Shape sorting. Sort by:

  • Color
  • Number of sides
  • Number of angles
  • Organic and geometric shapes

5) Pick a prism-Have students choose a prism and create the shape with:

Check out this math emergent reader and bundle that includes shapes.
I know it is difficult doing this distance learning thing at home. Pam and I will do our best to post ideas that we discover that are fun and engaging!
Share this post with a teacher or a parent that it can help!


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