#26: Circles and Olympic Fun Activities for Shapes

Today’s play-of-the-day is fun activities for shapes, in particular for circles. What shape are Olympic rings, medals, and planets? They are all circles.

In a way, the highlights of the summer have come full circle, starting with the Juno probe mission to Jupiter, then the Olympics, and now the end of summer holidays. It’s the start of another circle with kids going back to school. And the circle goes ‘round and ‘round.

There are so many fun activities for shapes and ways to play.


  • Got play dough? Kids can roll some long snakes with it and form it into shapes. Cookie cutters come in a variety of shapes kids can use to cut some out. Playdough is super easy to cut so kids may like to make flat pancakes and then cut out some shapes.
  • Flat shape blocks, sometimes called mosaic or marquetry, are another hands-on way to play with shapes.

art with blocks

  • Often, packages of foam shapes are available at dollar stores, either glue on or with peel-off backs. Kids can stick them onto paper or recycle items like tin pie plates, paper picnic plates, empty cereal boxes, or plastic containers.

fun shape activities for kids

  • Wooden or foam blocks may include all the shapes. So far, there are no Lego circle bricks, but there are Lego wheels for creating objects that go.
  • Pulling a wagon or going for a bike ride around the block is more shape fun. The wheels are circles and the block might be a rectangle.

fun shape activities wheels-blocks

The Olympic rings and medals are circle shapes, but the Games are also about being in shape. For bodies to be in shape, kids need lots of exercise and movement. The playground is great for both finding shapes and staying in shape. Reading and sharing books and stories is great exercise for brains to be in shape. Hearts can stay in shape by doing something friendly and kind for others. How will you and your child shape the day?

Color and Shape Activities for Kids

Two of fall’s colors are brown as summer-green fades and grey for cool, overcast skies but play can combine some bright color and shape activities for kids.

toys for math funBlocks come in a variety of shapes and colors as well as materials. While children are building with blocks, it’s easy to mention the names of colors and talk about them. This tower has a yellow triangle on the very top. There’s a circle on the red square block. A blue square is the same size as the red square. This incidental matching of the color and shape names  helps kids connect to the words and remember them. Besides blocks, there are other toys such as Lego and Duplo that have different colors and shapes.

toys for math funMost of the time we think of shapes as circles, triangles, rectangles and squares. These are regular shapes but there are irregular ones too. Shapes and colors are part of puzzles and even if kids don’t know the names for them, they can use them as a strategy for putting a puzzle together. To fit the pieces where they go, kids need to check if the shapes fit and the colors match. Being wrong about where a puzzle piece goes is all part of the process. It’s okay to do lots of trying.

color and shape activitiesMosaics are another toy that uses colors and shapes. The shapes are regular to start with, but kids can use them to make many other kinds of shapes. And kids aren’t the only ones. The child-made design on the floor looks very much like this adult-made one in a dome.

sensory play with play doughKids can also use play dough for color and shape activities. The shapes can be either regular or irregular or both at the same time. Plasticine stretched and smooshed on a paper plate makes a round world, complete with rainbow colors. What color and shape fun might be your child’s play-of-the-day?

P.S. Add some color and shape to your day when you visit 123kindergarten.

Math on the Playground: Part #2

Another gorgeous day meant we headed to the playground for some fresh air outside, wear-off-energy time, and more math on the playground fun. Thank you, Sun!

math on the playgroundYesterday, we had some fun with numbers at the small tot-lot at the end of our street. Today, the kids noticed some shapes. One of the platforms for climbing is a triangle shape. There is really only enough room for one person to stand in the wide part of the triangle. Bet you won’t need any clues as to how we discovered this shape. The second kidlet proclaimed she didn’t have enough room for her feet. Sometimes, learning could happen more peacefully, right? But, we then started to look for other shapes.

The climbing net had lots of squares. The climber was a rectangle with wiggly shapes. Part of a gate had diamonds on it. That became the castle area because diamonds are jewels. For more treasure, the kids looked for special rocks and pieces of wood. Circles were not obvious, but a bench looked like a moon which is part of a circle. With a little bit of shape-detective dust, the kids found a circle steering wheel on both teeter-totters and the duckie had circle springs underneath.

math on the playgroundA big board was sort of a rectangle shape, with part of a circle. When we looked at it closer—one of those things seen dozens of times but didn’t capture attention—we found to our amazement that it had lines and numbers for measuring. Kids could not only check their height, but also see how high they could reach and jump. Because the wood chips on the ground could be thicker at different times, this is only approximate but the kids turned into jumping beans and wanted someone to measure for them each time.

This math on the playground was not planned. It was not on the agenda for the day. It just happened. Experiences like this add up to such meaningful learning and really help kids to have math confidence. Do you and your child jump for math?

For Part #1 of Math on the Playground, check out yesterday’s post.

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