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8 Fun Ways to Teach Your Toddler Colours and Shapes

Discover how teaching your toddler colours and shapes nurtures their understanding of differences and similarities, laying the groundwork for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Providing Quality Childcare Since 2012   Infants, Toddlers & Preschool  •  Daycare Centre

Teaching your toddler colours and shapes is a significant step in early learning as it lays the foundation for many educational concepts the children will use throughout their academic lives. 

Colours and shapes can be learned through games and activities, and in this article, you will find eight fun ways to teach your toddler colours and shapes.

Teaching preschoolers about colours and shapes enables them to:

  • identify attributes of objects based on their similarities and differences;
  • build a vocabulary by describing and expressing what they observe around them;
  • recognise letters and numbers;
  • draw shapes, a prior step to writing;
  • understand the spatial relationship between objects;
  • solve problems like fitting a block in a shape form and develop math skills.
toddler colours and shapes

While each child has their own rate of development, some children start learning about colours around 18 months. Others begin to assimilate this concept between the ages of two and three.

No matter the age when toddlers learn about colours, the most important thing is to practice, as repetition helps master this concept quickly and with ease.

Shapes can be introduced to children around two years old, starting with basic ones like squares, circles, rectangles or triangles. Once they understand these shapes, toddlers are ready for more “complicated” ones like diamonds, ovals or hearts. Repetition is the key to learning these concepts, too, and you can organise various activities or crafts for your toddler to ensure continuity with what he studies in the early learning centre.

Create flashcards with bright colours and basic shapes. Then, play with your toddler by asking him to name the colours and shapes on them. Engage your child in a discussion by encouraging him to say everything he knows about them and to indicate where else he has seen those colours and shapes around him.

a woman teach toddler colours and shapes with Falshcard

Prepare simple cardboard cutouts for each basic shape. Take them with you and go with your toddler for a walk in the neighbourhood. Ask him to compare the cutouts with the objects they see around: a rooftop may resemble the triangle cutout, and a building may look like a rectangle. Each time your child finds a shape, mark it on the cutout to learn how many discoveries he made during the hunt.

This is an easy-to-set-up activity that requires objects in your home. You can use everything suited for a toddler’s handling, from plastic cups and bowls to toys. Just lay all these objects on the floor and ask your little one to separate them based on their shape into separate piles. This activity is guaranteed to keep your toddlers busy for a while and to teach them shapes.

Use child-friendly paint to create on paper various shapes in different colours. Hold your toddler’s finger and paint together until he can make the shapes himself. Name each shape and colour so that your little one understands the difference between a circle and a triangle or red and orange.
To keep this activity engaging, you can replace now and then paint with shaving cream and show your children how to draw shapes. Toddlers love experimenting with different textures and paint.

This easy, inexpensive activity will help your child learn rectangles, squares, diamonds and other shapes with the help of cotton buds. Place the cotton buds on a straight, hard surface and show your little one how you build each shape. Name it and then ask him to do the same. After practising for a while, he will get the hang of it and be able to recognise shapes in objects around him.

Playdough is one of toddlers’ favourite textures. It is soft, coloured and can be shaped into anything. Place a large portion of Playdough on a working table, flatten it, give your children a set of cutters and show them how to cut different shapes. Ask them to name the shapes as they cut them out and indicate what objects they know that look the same (for example, the sun is a circle, the soap is a rectangle).

a woman teach toddler colours and shapes with Playdough

Toddlers love water and any games involving it. Prepare a “water table” at home to teach your child colours in a fun way.

Materials you need:

  • a large container to fill with water;
  • different colours of plastic reusable ice cubes;
  • plastic cups matching the ice cubes’ colours;
  • toy tongs.

How to set up the activity:

Fill half the large container with water. Place the materials inside. 

Ask the children to use tongs to place the plastic ice cubes in cups of the same colour. This activity teaches colours and helps the little ones exercise their fine motor skills by using one or both hands to catch ice cubes. When all the cubes are in the cups, the kids can empty them and start over, as one round of fun may not be enough for them!

This activity has been sourced from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds.

Sorting alphabet letters is another opportunity to teach your toddler colours and shapes. It enables them to make decisions, observe resemblances and differences between letters and recognise their attributes.

Materials you need:

  • magnetic letters;
  • bowls of different colours.

How to set up the activity:
Give your child the materials and ask him to place letters in bowls of the same colour while naming the colours. If your child knows any letters, ask him to name them, too. This activity is so engaging that your child might want to play more than once.

This activity has been sourced from Busy Toddler.

Teaching your toddler colours and shapes helps them understand what makes objects different and the same. These abilities support toddlers’ learning process in kindergarten and school, providing them with a foundation for later success in life.

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Our Early Learning Centres

Our early childhood centre environments strongly reflects our inspiration – The Reggio Emilia philosophy, from Reggio Emilia, Italy.

We provide a creative and open ended environment that encourages infinite learning for the children and strong relationships between teachers, children and families.

The day’s routines are flexible. At the same time, care is taken to recognise and respect each child’s needs.

Playground at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre childcare in Howick, Auckland
Child playing in BBELC - Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre Childcare (1)

Why Choose a Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre?

Here's what our parents say about our childcare centres

Come and visit one of our childcare centres and see for yourself why your child will love it

Talk to the Centre Manager, meet the team, see the natural outdoor play areas and educational rooms, learn about how we develop our programs and find out more about our unique approach to partnering with our families.

Our latest parent reviews from Google

Tanya Vester
Tanya Vester
2023-05-27
Our sons attended Bright beginnings early leaning Centre and absolutely loved it. They attended Manuka and Kowhai rooms, and later also Pohutukawa room. The teachers in all three rooms were just SO lovely, caring, attentive and supported their learning journeys and communicated the children’s achievements with us. We are so thankful for the time our kids were able to spend there, and the kids made great memories for life. We highly recommend BBELC to anyone looking for a child care center. We had to leave due to moving overseas and will miss BBELC so much!!!
Sukhpreet Singh Mediratta
Sukhpreet Singh Mediratta
2022-10-09
"I don't think I can express in words the gratitude I feel towards you all. My child, Amrin have learnt so much in your care that will stay with her for life. I believe their fondest memories of childhood will include many of you - I truly hope you are all extremely proud your efforts with our children. Thank you for all the wonderful support and care you have given to my daughter. This Centre is a very special place and she has grown so much in your nurturing, inspiring and challenging environment. You are really helping her to prepare for her school foundation." Actually, this is a second home for Amrin, she started her journey from BBELC, Auckland and will leave for school from here. Thanks to all the teachers, If I start typing the names, the list will be so long. In last especially I should not forget Nikita, who is so understanding and caring towards kids as well as families. Thank you with much love."
Anaru Pui
Anaru Pui
2022-10-06
We've had our daughter Waikohu pui in the center for over 1 year now And she has Developed into such a beautiful kind person and has gained some great life skills and experiences thank you to all the teachers for there support and care with our baby girl making life alot easier knowing shes getting great education and Aroha (Love) from all the teachers at her Kura ( school ) thanks again ❤️ from the Pui whanau
Jagroop Kaur
Jagroop Kaur
2022-10-06
Teachers are very kind and patient. Also they encourage children to learn in different indoor and outdoor activities. I am so pleased in POHUTUKAWA room the teacher do the school transition program, which is really helpful to the kids enter the primary school in the future. Thanks all teacher who support VIRASAT and other kids there quite well.
anne dela cruz
anne dela cruz
2022-10-05
We have been with BBELC Hamilton since 2020 during the peak of pandemic and I never doubted to bring my children here knowing that they are on a safe place and the team are all aware of the best health and safety plan to ensure that everyone in the centre are safe. The centre is the BEST for me in terms of CLEANLINESS (the place os very tidy), SAFETY OF CHILDREN (only parents/caregivers can enter the premises on their pin coded door), FRIENDLY STAFF (you will be greeted by a very friendly receptionist, you can talk to the teachers about your concern with your child), OPEN DOOR POLICY (Manager’s door is open all times for parents for any concern or question), NUTRICIOUS FOOD for our kids, SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM (table activities, book reading, sharing with others, simple literacy), MAT TIME IS THE BEST as the kids learn to socialize, listen to teachers, story telling, yoga, dance time, music time,etc. and they also held PARENTS TIME where we can chat with the teacher about our kids, meet other parents, share experiences and strategies, parents gets treat and gift on special occasion like mother’s day and father’s day that will definitely make your day as a parent. And lastly for few years now, my kids have enjoyed their Christmas party where they get gift and enjoy bouncy castle, it’s simple but the experience and memories will be lifetime. THANKS TO ALL THE STAFF AND TEACHERS OF BBELC Hamilton! KUDOS TO ALL YOUR HARDWORK AND DEDICATION. CHEERS TO MANY MORE YEARS OF SUCCESS! - DELA CRUZ Family ( Robb and Reuben)
Shirley
Shirley
2022-10-05
I love BBELC and my child love it too. As parents ,my husband and I deeply appreciate the staff being friendly ,kind ,patient ,role models and caring .The educators work well with parents to achieve the children’s developmental goals , the manager Leonie and Teachers Mari, Kathryn, Summer and Emma really care about the children and very welcoming. The childcare is secure and this gives us peace of mind in knowing that our little ones are in good hands and safe . The classrooms are clean and nicely decorated. I highly recommend sending your child to this center. It’s become our second home.
ANN KURIYAN
ANN KURIYAN
2022-10-05
BBELC is an awesome environment for my daughter to learn and grow through different types of activities. All the staffs are friendly, supportive and helpful. Highly recommended to all.
Neda Bolouri
Neda Bolouri
2022-10-05
A safe, happy and caring place for our children.
Norvega Bantang
Norvega Bantang
2022-09-30
Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre - Hamilton is like a second home to my 2 little girls. They are very supportive of the children’s early learning and individual development. The rooms are spacious, warm and cozy and provide different kinds of resources for the children to explore. My girls are always excited to go to kindy every morning. Since I have also recently become part of this centre, it’s good to know and see for myself how things work in the centre and how very passionate the staff are in looking after every child like they are family. As a parent, it gives me the peace of mind that my children are in good hands and are well taken cared of. Definitely made the right decision to enroll our children here.
Diana Villa-Ignacio
Diana Villa-Ignacio
2022-09-30
BBELC is a wonderful centre which caters to quality care and learning of children. We take pride in our relationship with parents , whanau and children having positive environment, open communication, flexibility, catering to children needs and working alongside parent's aspiration for their children. Feel free to come and see our Hamilton centre. We will be happy to show you around and be part of our Bright Beginnings Family.

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