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Activity and strategy

Homemade Shape Sorter

This homemade shape sorter gives young children or children with multiple disabilities practice with basic concepts, such as size discrimination, while also developing fine motor skills.

I absolutely love this simple, fun homemade shape sorter and have shared it on so many courses over the years. It is fantastic for scanning, pre-braille, braille, numeracy, language development, concept building, turn taking, fine motor, tactile discrimination skills to name a few.  Such an easy and quick make and provides so many lovely learning opportunities.

Steps to Make Your Own Shape Sorter

  • Take a cardboard box and cover it in plain wrapping paper or paint it. 
  • Cut out three different size holes: a big, medium and little hole. The smallest hole should be the size to take the smallest ball you have and the biggest hole to take the biggest ball you have. 
  • Find a collection of balls: bright colours, light up, spikey, smiley and squeaky.
  • Find a muffin tray.
  • Add the balls to a box or lay them out on a black base tray. 
  • Have fun posting the balls into the shape sorter.
  • Have fun popping the balls into the muffin tin.

Homemade shape sorter from a cardboard box covered in yellow wrapping paper with three holes cut in the top of the box, Big, Medium and Little.  A selection of bright coloured balls are on and around the box

Learning Opportunities

Here are some of the learning opportunities this simple and inexpensive activity provide:

  1. Concept of size
  2. Counting the balls
  3. Early rows and columns (placing the balls in a row or in a column in the muffin tray)
  4. Sorting the smooth/spikey balls/squeaky balls
  5. Hand and release grasp
  6. Language of in and out, too big, too small, it fits
  7. Language of ‘find’ ‘look’ ‘there is the ball’ ‘which ball fits?’ 
  8. Follow simple instructions: Make a row, make a column
  9. Make a line, make a diagonal, move from left to right/right to left
  10. Take turns at posting the balls
  11. Roll the balls which goes the furthest?


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