Family Activity: The Shape of Things

The shape of thingsWe depend on all of our senses – touching, tasting, hearing, smelling, and seeing – to gather impressions of our environment.

In this activity, children will focus on the many shapes that are found in both natural and built environments.

Doing the Activity

  • Have children create “shape necklaces” (or bracelets) by cutting out circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, ovals, and hearts from different colored construction paper.
  • Have children write the shape names on the cutouts and punch a hole in each.
  • Thread a piece of string or pipe cleaner through each shape so that it forms a loop fitting easily over a child’s head or loosely on their wrist.

The shape of things necklace





Then, head outside to investigate:

  • What is your favorite shape? Challenge children to find it in nature.
  • Ask children to find objects the same shape and color as the ones on their necklaces.
  • Play the “I Spy” guessing game: “I spy something shaped like a_______. Can you find it?”
  • Hold up each shape and have children name all the outdoor items they can find to match.

Once back inside:

  • Introduce children to the Chinese Tangram puzzle. The puzzle is made of seven geometric pieces: five triangles, one square, and one parallelogram.
  • The pieces can be arranged to create different objects, including people, animals, flowers, boats, and more.
  • Use the tangram template provided in the downloadable activity to copy and cut your own puzzle pieces out of paper, cardboard, or wood, and then work together to see what new objects you can create!


Download this Activity

Descarga la actividad en español: La forma de las cosas


Get the Full Activity

This family activity is adapted from Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide which can be obtained through an in-person professional development workshop or online course.


A Collection of Fun, Easy to Do Outdoor Activities for Families

Our 58-page guide contains 36 family activities to try while visiting a local park, walking in the forest, or exploring your backyard—plus activities to do around your home and indoors, when you can’t get outside.


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