Shape sorters are some of the oldest toys you’ll find around.
Although they’ve evolved into so many forms, the basic concept about them remains the same.
They come as some kind of container that has indented or perforated parts in which there’s always a matching piece that is designed to fit right in. Right?
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy for kids to really understand this concept. So, mom/dad is left with the hassle of teaching babies how to play with shape sorters.
Well, you don’t have to bury your head in the sand with this one. We are here to help!
Teaching Babies How to Play with Shape Sorters
When teaching a baby how to use a shape sorter toy, the first step is to provide blocks with different shapes and colors.
Ask the child to separate the blocks with different shapes and pile them up.
As they do so, say the names of different shapes.
You can ask them to sort based on the shapes they love most!
Have a conversation on why these shapes are their favorites and why they dislike other shapes.
Next, focus on sorting the pieces based on color. For instance, there could be some green blocks, yellow, red, blue, etc.
Color recognition is a very important facet of shape sorter toys.
Apply the knowledge of colors to make it easier for them to appreciate the differences between shapes.
Having done this, move on to a sorting toy. Let them identify the different shapes of holes.
Start with simpler shapes such as squares and circles.
Now proceed to fit different shapes into the matching holes.
It’s not a wonder that younger babies could try jamming in pieces haphazardly.
Just guide their hand gently a few times and within no time, they’re going to be a pro at using shape sorter toys!
What are the Benefits of Shape Sorters for Toddlers?
Playing with shape sorters confers amazing benefits for your little one. Here are a few…
Shape Sorters Teach Kids Cause and Effect
When kids do something to get a certain reaction, they learn the cause-and-effect concept. They’re able to make predictions about what is likely to happen and what causes that to happen.
There’s no better toy to teach kids cause-and-effect than shape sorter toys.
They understand that if they place the correct shape into the hole (cause), the object will fit through (effect).
Shape Sorters help with Shape and Color Recognition
This is probably the most basic benefit of shape sorters.
Because different objects in shape sorters come in different shapes and colors, kids exercise their color and shape recognition skills as they play with shape sorters.
These Toys Foster the Development of Fine Motor Skills
As kids hold onto different objects and try to fit them into different holes of the sorting toy, they’re exercising the tiny muscles on their little hands and fingers.
Some other benefits of shape sorters include improved social skills, turn-taking, hand-eye coordination, and self-esteem/confidence.
When is the Shape Sorter Milestone?
Kids reach the shape sorter milestone at 18-24 months.
At this age, they’re able to sort colors and shapes.
Their little hands and fingers are also strong enough to lift large shapes and place them in the shape sorter toy.
A disclaimer here: as with other tiny toys, they always carry a high risk of choking for younger kids.
Either way, most kids find it fun playing with larger shape sorters than tiny ones.
At What Age do Babies Start to Sort Shapes?
Our little tots are ready to play with shape sorters by around 15-18 months.
Natalie Geary, a developmental pediatrician in NYC, suggests that at this age, kids have already developed the hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills required to play with shape sorters.
However, even at 1 year old, you can help your little one play with the pieces, showing them how to fit the objects into the holes.
By the time they’re 18 months, they’ll fit the shapes without your assistance.
At age 3+ years, the focus should be on how fast they can fit the shapes into the sorting toy.
All in all, every child deserves shape sorter toys.