Early Childhood Shapes

The following resources are great for using with younger children to help them understand shapes.  These books, websites, and resources will help with shape recognition, visual discrimination, as well as matching and sorting shapes.

Books about shapes

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes written and illustrated by Tana Hoban

Each page contains a fantastic photograph of an everyday life setting, however when you look closer each page is full of shapes!  Doors are shaped like rectangles, the supports on phone towers form triangles and tambourines form circles.  Tana Hoban’s book of photographs helps teach children to find shapes in the world around them.

Color Zoo written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Each page of Ehlert’s book contains a different zoo animal and each zoo animal is made out of a series of cut-out shapes.  As you turn the pages one shape is removed and a new animal is revealed.  The bright colors and unique designs of the pictures will keep children interested and involved.

The Secret Birthday Message written and illustrated by Eric Carle

When Tim wakes up on the morning of his birthday to find a secret message reading:

“When the [semi-circle] comes up, look for the biggest [star].  Below it you’ll see a[n oval]. Behind that is the [triangle]. Go in. Look up through [zigzags] walk straight ahead to a [rectangle]. Open it.  You will see a [rectangle]. Climb through it.  That’s will you will find your birthday gift!”

Tim has to figure out the clues in order to find his birthday present.

Ship Shapes written by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Siobhan Bell

This book is about the shapes on the sea.  The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  Every page is quilted,not drawn, giving it a different feel than other shape books.  Better yet, each page is filled with shapes!  It covers the basic shapes: circle, square, triangle and rectangle as well as star, semi circle, diamond, crescent, and oval.

Circus Shapes written by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by Edward Miller

This book helps you find shapes within a circus.  It introduces squares, triangles, rectangles and circles.  What makes this book excellent for teaching shapes it that it goes beyond the standard square, triangle, rectangle, and circle.  On the pages where shapes are introduced, the bottom left page depicts examples of that shape in various sizes and rotations.

Resources for Children

Resources for Parents and Teachers