Lesson plan

Fingerpaint and Fun with Shapes

Use this great lesson to get your students interested in learning about basic shapes! This lesson integrates a sensory activity with learning and lets students get a little messy.
Download lesson plan
Need extra help for EL students? Try the How Do You Know the Shape?Pre-lesson.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the How Do You Know the Shape?Pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify various basic shapes and colors. Students will be able to identify one defining characteristic of each shape.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
Trace Color Shapes
  • Introduce the lesson by holding up an object such as a ball. Ask your students to identify the object and shape.
  • Explain to your students that they will be learning about shapes.
  • To help introduce shapes, have each student go around the classroom and select one object.
  • Go around the room and have each student identify the shape of his object.
(10 minutes)
  • Show students an example of a circle, a square, a rectangle, and a triangle.
  • Draw each of the shapes on a whiteboard.
  • Instruct your students to count the sides on each of the shapes, and call students up to trace them and erase them with their fingers.
  • Give your students the Trace colour Shapes worksheet to complete.
(5 minutes)
  • Give your students four different cutout shapes: a circle, a triangle, a square, and a rectangle.
  • Ask students to tape down a circle to their white construction paper.
  • Then, direct your students to tape down the remaining shapes. Use this as an opportunity to see which students are able to properly select the shapes.
(10 minutes)
  • Give your students palettes of paint with various colors on it.
  • Have them fingerpaint all over their white paper.
  • Instruct your students to paint over the shapes that were taped down.
  • When the paper is full, place the papers in a safe spot to dry.
  • When the project is dry, pull off the taped-on shapes. This way, they will have a colorful project with bold, white shapes on it.


  • Have your students use a paintbrush instead of fingerpaint to complete this activity. This way, they are still taking part in the lesson but in a way that fits their needs.


  • Give your students additional shapes such as octagons, hexagons, and others. Ask these students to identify and tape down these shapes as well.
(5 minutes)
  • After the projects are dry, ask your students to place their fingers on the shapes you call out.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students independently think of objects that are certain shapes. For instance, ask your students to identify something triangle-shaped that can be eaten.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely

What could we do to improve Education.com?

Please note: Use the Contact Us link at the bottom of our website for account-specific questions or issues.

What would make you love Education.com?

What is your favorite part about Education.com?