‘I spy with my little eye, a rectangle’

‘Is it the TV?’ ‘Is it a place-mat?’ ‘Is it the family photo?’


There are stages of development when it comes to how children think of shapes. Initially babies will perceive shapes but be unable to identify and distinguish between many shapes. Their copied drawings of different shapes, like a circle, square or triangle all resemble a similar irregular curve. Then children begin to recognise shapes based on their appearance. They can visually identify shapes and will say things like,  “That’s a rectangle because it looks like the TV.”

At the descriptive level a child is able to identify shapes based on their features.

This is a square because it has four sides of equal length and four right angles.

As children’s cognitive development expands they begin to recognise the relationship between two dimensional and three dimensional shapes.

Simple, effective and fun.

Playing Shape I Spy is a great way to teach and to reinforce your child’s understanding and recognition of shapes. It can be played anywhere and at anytime. It might be particularly useful to play when you’re waiting in line or waiting for an appointment. In any new location you find yourself in, there will be a whole new environment of 2D and 3D shapes to explore. It’s a great way to engage with your kids, take their mind off their boredom and do something educational, all at the same time!

These posters are great to have handy at home and you might like to hang them in a suitable location as a reference point for your child.

(13×19) 2D and 3D Shapes Educational Chart Poster

Shapes Chart

You can click on the link beneath each poster and it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase each poster.

Parents are very good at teaching their children the basic 2D shapes. Using 3D shapes expands the possibilities for the game and is an easy way to extend your child’s geometric knowledge.

‘I spy with my little eye, a sphere’

‘Is it an orange?’ ‘Is it the soccer ball?’


This clip might help you with some ideas! (It’s great for a bit of a laugh too).

Here are some other examples of 3D shapes to help you along in the game:

Rectangular prism:

  •  Cereal box
  •  Microwave
  •  Fridge

Triangular prism:

  • Toblerone
  • Tent
  • Roof


  •  Tin of tomatoes
  •  Flour canister

Have fun with ‘Shape’ I spy and watch your child’s understanding evolve.

This is a simple and effective way of introducing some maths skills into play. Forward this article onto anyone who you think might enjoy adding this idea to their playtime with their children.

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY