Build & Learn Shape Factory

Today is all about shapes. Ms. Tiger and I built our very first shape factory to help us learn shapes, sort, and match. We got…

Today is all about shapes. Ms. Tiger and I built our very first shape factory to help us learn shapes, sort, and match. We got our foam shapes from the Target dollar bins but any small shapes would work. If you don’t have any available make your own shapes out of cardboard or foam sheets so you can play along.
I am excited to let you know this is the first post in the Creative Preschool series that is being presented by myself, Katie right here at A Little Pinch of Perfect, Amanda at Artsy Momma, Jaime at Handmade Kids Art, Rachel at I Heart Crafty Things, and Leslie at Pink Stripey Socks. We will be collaborating on learning themes to present you new and fun ideas for your preschooler.  Make sure to stop by their pages to see more shape themed activities (Links at end of post). 
If you are new around here you should know that I started concentrating on educating my kids at home with the Letter of the Week A-Z Series. I have a hunch you will like it since you are reading this post :). Please check it out for more preschool and tot school inspiration. So now that everyone is caught up with what’s going on around here, let’s get to today’s activity!

Build & Learn Shape Factory

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Small shapes (We used some from the Target dollar bins)
2 empty chip tubes (We used Lays Stax containers)
Extra lids for chip tubes or empty milk jugs
1 small box with a lid (We used a shoe box)
2 medium sized boxes (We used cereal boxes)
Wrapping paper or craft paper 
Knife (Optional)-to puncture material so scissors can go in
Duct Tape
Getting Ready to Build:
This was our first building with a purpose activity. I told Ms. Tiger what we where making and how I wanted our factory to work when we where done (“The shape should go down the the tube into the box and come out the front”).  
We talked about what needed to be on the top (tubes), and what needed to be on the bottom so our factory wouldn’t fall over (largest box). Once we assembled the pieces together we then set out to figure out the mechanics of our factory and what we needed to do to get the shapes from the tubes into the box. I presented each step as a problem we needed to solve and she was able to figure out and suggest what tools we needed to get the job done. I could have built our factory alone, but including her was fun and gave her the chance to think in new ways and problem solve.  
Our factory ready to be put together.

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1.  Measure paper to fit around your boxes. If you are using craft paper feel free to paint and design it. We painted ours to make our factory cute. Once the paint is dry wrap your box with the lid. Make sure to wrap the box ad the lid separately so the box on be opened and closed. 
2.  Trace the shapes on the lids and cut them out. You want the hole to be slightly larger then the shape so it can fit through easily. 
I didn’t have enough extra chip lids so I traced our lid on the flat surface of a milk jug and cut them out. I got about 3 mock lids out of each jug. I taped around the edges (inside and out) to make sure they weren’t sharp. 
3.  Cut a hole in the bottom of your chip containers. Cut a hole in the top of your box. Tape the chip container to the top of the box so shapes can slide down the tube and land in the box. 
4.  Using your extra box, cut out a piece that fits snugly inside your top box. Tape it inside your top box at an angle so that when shapes are put into the box, they will fall out the front. 
5.  Cut out two holes in the side of the box so that the shapes can fall out the front. 
6.  Tape the small box to the top of your remaining box and your factory is ready to play with. 
This Shape Factory is ready for preschool learning!
To Play:
Give kids shapes and lids and let them play. Ms. Tiger automatically matched the shape she had in hand with the “steel plate” (chip lid) she needed to make the factory work. Put the plate on the top and push the shape down into the “smoke stacks” (chip tubes).
Sometimes I would tell her our factory only required a certain shape or color so Ms. Tiger would have to find the right type of shape and match the right steel plate, before putting it in the factory. We also put the shapes that came out of the factory in a basket and counted them for another element of learning.

Once the correct steel plate was on top of the smoke stacks, they became a nice way for her to check and see if she had the correct shape without me having to tell her when she was wrong which can be frustrating to hear. She loved putting the shapes in the factory and watching them come out.  

At first I put our factory on a table. Later I put it on the floor to make the top of the smoke stacks easy to reach. 

More Shape Activities from the Creative Preschool Crew: 
Shapes Busy Bag by Artsy Momma
Triangle Ship Craft & Shape Matching Game  by I Heart Crafty Things

Thanks for joining us today. Have a fun day!


  1. I love this activity! I'm going to be featuring you this week at Meaningful Mama. I hope you'll be linking up with Mom's Library again this week. I'm going to pin this too. I also love your E is for elephant post and will be featuring that as well.

    1. Hi Jodi, thanks for checking out our activities and for the lovely features!!! I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

  2. Looks like you & Ms. Tiger had a lot of fun! Thx for linking this up at the Thoughtful Spot.

  3. I love this and I am also going to start a petition to get Target to open in the UK 😉 Thanks for linking with Tuesday Tutorials #pintorials

  4. This is such a fun and creative idea! I think my daughter would love just dropping the shapes in the tube, but I like how you added the learning shapes component too!

    1. Hi Emma, that's what my son likes to do. My daughter likes to use the plates. It's fun how they can both play together at different skill levels and ages.

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