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Shapes are everywhere. From the construction of a house to street signs and theme parks, it’s easy to spot shapes and turn them into teachable moments. Learning about different shapes not only helps children to become more aware of their surroundings, but they begin to organize visual information while building their skills in math, language, science, and art.
There are plenty of fun ways to learn about shapes, and shape books are some of the most effective to introduce and solidify the concepts. As a Montessori and STEM educator for over a decade, I’ve had some great experiences with books about shapes that help children learn in fun and creative ways.
Out of all the (shapes) books I’ve read, I pick Snippets as the best overall because aside from teaching young ones about shapes, it’s also cleverly written to promote kindness and positivity – something that all kids (and even adults) should have!
Here’s more of what we think are the best books for teaching shapes that can help with your kid’s development.
Related post: Best STEM Books for Kids of All Ages
- Best Books for Teaching Shapes
- Best Overall – Snippets: A Story About Paper Shapes
- Best Sensory Board Book for Infants and Toddlers – TouchThinkLearn: Shapes
- Best Budget Option – Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
- Best for Bug Lovers – Icky Bug Shapes
- Best for Introducing Angles and Triangles – The Greedy Triangle
- Best Shape Book to Get Creative in the Classroom – Perfect Square
- Best Shape Book Using an Animal – Mouse Shapes
- What to Consider When Buying a Shape Books
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Books for Teaching Shapes
Best Overall – Snippets: A Story About Paper Shapes
Snippets: A Story About Paper Shapes is our top pick for the best shape books for children. This fun and colorful book is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon’s list of Children’s Engineering Books. Snippets not only teaches children about the concepts of kindness and being unique, but it does so through learning various polygons.
As with most shapes books for children, you’ll discover lots of possibilities to create open discussions and activities around irregular and regular polygons, including the most basic shapes. The recommended ages for Snippets are preschool through lower elementary.
Best Sensory Board Book for Infants and Toddlers – TouchThinkLearn: Shapes
TouchThinkLearn: Shapes is a great board book choice for toddlers. Using an abstract and minimalist approach to their pictures, this book combines die-cuts and raised elements for a sensorial exploration of shapes. Each page features a shape and how it relates to real-life objects through illustrations such as ladybugs, mushrooms, owls, flowers, and more.
The book’s recommended age is 5-6 years, but many parents of toddlers find the simplicity and illustrations fun and unique. Most of the shapes are simple, but some like the half circle and spiral may be advanced for the younger audience.
Best Budget Option – Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
Shapes, Shapes, Shapes is our top pick for a budget option because it’s not only highly educational, but it’s visually-appealing and inexpensive. This book can be used from preschool to third grade and offers very practical but photographically-clear images throughout to show children the countless shapes around us. From buildings, shoes, and sports, to work-life and everyday materials.
Some reviewers have commented on how great it is for children who are visually-motivated or on the autism spectrum. For all children, it helps them to see the human world in a different way, while also opening up conversations about the story behind each image.
Best for Bug Lovers – Icky Bug Shapes
Icky Bug Shapes is our book choice for bug lovers because it takes the child through all of the most familiar shapes, such as circles, rectangles, squares, and stars with the help of the ickiest bugs around. Scholastic delivers an educational concept book for parents and teachers who like combining math and science.
The recommended age is from four to eight years, and can also be used for thematic units and project support. The combination of shapes and living creatures will help children become more aware of shapes around us in nature, including the shapes of bug bodies. Plenty of school activity extensions can arise from Icky Bug Shapes, so it’s a win-win.
Best for Introducing Angles and Triangles – The Greedy Triangle
The Greedy Triangle is our top pick for introducing the concept of angles and triangles in a clever and funny way. This 32-page picture book written by an author and math teacher who takes children through a triangle’s dissatisfaction with his life as “just” a triangle. Each time he goes to a shapeshifter, he asks for more angles, turning him into different shapes beginning with a quadrilateral.
It’s not only for introducing geometric concepts but also sneaks in additional lessons about loving yourself. Teachers may like for students to create each shape using geoboards, or by creating a shape with pretzels or other snacks. Plus, they can be “greedy” themselves by eating their creations.
Best Shape Book to Get Creative in the Classroom – Perfect Square
Perfect Square is our pick for creatives who also want to teach the days of the week. It’s a fun, innovative book created by a New York Times bestselling author who’s goal is to teach creativity through very simple shape illustrations.
This book, recommended for infants to kindergarten, takes the child through an adventure of a perfect square transformed into a variety of different shapes. You’ll want to have plenty of scissors, glue, and colorful paper handy to use as extra projects once the book is shared.
Best Shape Book Using an Animal – Mouse Shapes
There are plenty of books featuring animals, but Mouse Shapes is our pick for teaching shapes to children who love stories about animals, especially mice. This popular book is illustrated with images of felt mice and felt shapes. The mice are looking to trick a sneaky cat, but when they stumble upon a bunch of basic shapes, they come up with plenty of ideas.
This book is recommended for preschoolers to third grade, but younger children may also like the illustrations. Parents and educators can extend the book by using cut-out felt so the children could recreate the concepts and story together.
What to Consider When Buying a Shape Books
Age appropriateness is important because the child will lose interest if the books are too simple or challenging. Very young children might find the pictures interesting but won’t understand the storyline. While older children are often ready for geometry books that go beyond the basic circle and square.
Since the point of picture books is to maintain attention and education through images, the books need to be visually appealing. Flashy images aren’t necessary, but attractive colors and quality pictures are better for any pre-reader. An added bonus if the book has rhyming text.
Creative and Fun
Creativity is a consideration for buying a shape book because there can be plenty of extra teaching activities to create and enjoy afterward. Teachers are well-known for coming up with amazing extensions and projects following a book, even with color, patterns and simple shapes like circles and squares, so keep an eye out for children’s books that spark ideas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What shapes should I teach first?
The easiest shapes to teach and identify first are circles, squares, triangles, stars, rectangles, and diamonds.
At what age should my child know shapes?
Experts suggest most children should know the most basic shapes (circles, squares, triangles) by the time he or she is three years old.
How can I help my child to learn shapes?
When teaching, consider age-appropriate picture books about shapes as well as playing lots of fun shape games (I Spy, memory, matching, drawing and tracing).
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Last update on 2020-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API