Creating Art Using Shapes

by Laurie Laurendeau on April 12, 2011

Kindergartners often learn about basic shapes before even entering school.  Colorful shapes can be found on children’s clothing, books, and in the world around them.  The basic shapes are a kindergarten math skill that will be introduced formally to your child in school.  He will learn about the square, circle, rectangle, and triangle.  He may even extend his shape knowledge into new shapes such as the rhombus, hexagon or octagon.  Today we are going to concentrate on the four basic shapes. You’ll get the chance to explore your creative side with your child as you create art from basic shapes!

What Is It?

Let’s first define what gives each of these shapes a special name.               

SQUARE: A square is a 2-D shape (flat) that has 4 equal-length sides.

TRIANGLE: A triangle is a 2-D shape that always has 3 sides, but the sides can vary in length.

RECTANGLE: A rectangle is a 2-D shape that has 4 sides, and the opposite sides are always the same length.

CIRCLE: A circle is a 2-D shape that does not have any sides.  From a circle’s center point, it is the same distance to any outside edge.


This is a kindergarten math concept that most children enjoy learning about. When you add art to the mix, what’s not to love?  Why not channel that creative energy into a little shape lesson?

  • Gather various art supplies around your house.  Here is a list to get you started:

*construction paper  *glue  *scissors *buttons  *feathers  *pompoms  *Popsicle sticks  *paper bags  *markers/crayons  *stickers  *paper plate          *string  *wire coat hanger   *colored craft foam

  • Draw a picture of a giant square, circle, rectangle and triangle on a piece of paper.  Ask your child if he knows the name of any of the shapes.  Write the name of each shape inside it.  Teach the name of any shapes your child is unfamiliar with at this time.
  • Now that your child has reviewed the 4 basic shapes, it’s time to make some art!  Let your child be creative here.  He will probably need some ideas to get started, so here are a few:

1.     Shape Monster. Ask your child what kind of monster he would like to make: scary, friendly, silly, etc.  The shape monster could be simply drawn on the construction paper using a combination of the four basic shapes.  Challenge your child to make all the body parts out of shapes only!

2.     Shape Puppet. Using the paper bag, have your child create a shape puppet, using the flap at the bottom of the bag as the mouth of the puppet.

3.  Shape Mask. A paper plate is already in the shape of a circle, so that’s a great start!  Encourage your child to draw and cut out shapes from the construction paper or craft foam to add to the plate to create a mask.  Punch holes on each side, and attach a string to the holes so it can be worn as a mask.  You will have to cut out the eye holes for your child… perhaps triangles or squares?

4.     Shape Mobile. Attach string or yarn of various lengths to a coat hanger.  Ask your child to draw and cut out squares, circles, triangles and rectangles out of a variety of materials (construction paper, colored craft foam, etc.).  Glue or tape them on to the ends of the strings to make a colorful mobile.

What to Watch For

  • When you introduce the triangle to your child, be sure to draw a variety of triangles.  Children are accustomed to seeing an equilateral triangle (all sides equal), and with the pointy end pointing up.  Draw long and skinny triangles, and “upside down” triangles too.
  • As with triangles, children are used to seeing the other shapes in certain ways as well.  Try drawing rectangles that are long and skinny.  Draw some vertically, horizontally, and some on the diagonal.  Draw a square that is slightly rotated on its side.  Present the shapes in ways out of the ordinary!


  • As always, playing math games at home is a great way to reinforce math skills learned in school.
  • Have questions or ideas about this story?
  • Need help or advice about your child’s learning?
  • Have ideas for future Parent Homework Help stories?

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