Shape Sort

Toddler using a paper towel roll as a toy at home

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to understand and use a growing vocabulary.

Materials Needed:

  • Shoe box or similar box
  • Objects with a variety of attributes, such as shape, color, or size
  • Scissors

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  1. Cut two or three holes in the top of the box.
  2. Show your child the objects. Ask him or her to find an object and put it in the hole in the box, e.g., “Where’s the ball? Can you put it in the hole?”
  3. Continue as long as your child is interested. Try playing this game over several days, adding new objects each time.

Learn More: For older children, try asking for a specific shape or size, rather than the name of the object, e.g., “Can you find something red? Can you find something round?”

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Toddler using a paper towel roll as a toy at home