Make your own… Shape sorter (18+ months)

Here’s a simple and super cheap way to help develop your little ones fine motor skills but can also help with their understanding of colours and shapes.


Some twisty straws that hold their shape (I got some for £1 in Tiger)
Different colours of foam (I got mine in Hobbycraft)

1- slice your foam into 3cm squares.
2 – cut each different colour in to different shapes ~ you probably want about 5 of each shape and about 4 or 5 different colours.
3 – firmly press (or stab if you’ve had a tough day and need to take it out on something) the end of a straw into the centre of each shape so that it leaves the imprint of the circle behind.
4 – use the scissors to carefully cut out the hole. The added bonus of using foam is that it’s really difficult to rip and therefore almost impossible to mess this up.
5 – make sure the straws fit through the holes.

Activity ideas

A – just let little fingers explore – they’ll investigate the texture of the foam, the straws, the holes and probably a lot more.
B – sort by shape as they load them on to the straw
C – sort by colour (you could do the same shapes in different colours to make it more complicated )
D – create a pattern with the shapes and colours
E – create a challenge for getting them round the straw i.e. how quickly can they do it (I would only suggest this with pre-schoolers, my toddler would not understand this concept at all)

As always, here’sa few snaps of Sprog getting to grips with his. He was a particular fan of waving the straws around wildly first time out and trying to chew the foam.

Just remember that as long as there’s no risk involved in what they are doing, let them explore without intervening as much as possible. Obviously grab that straw pronto if it looks like they are trying to stick in it their eye or shove it down their throat… you know what’s best in terms of safety!

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