Digging for Shapes

Pinterest pin of toddler sorting shapes hidden in rice

Teach your child shapes and colors with this easy sensory sorting activity!

Sorting activities have become my absolute favorite recently. They are easy to put together and a great way to distract my toddler without turning on the TV. My toddler (3-years-old) has a high-energy personality, so these quiet sit-down activities are not usually her number one choice. Her attention span tends to drift after 5 minutes or less when I give her a sorting task. But ever since I added a sensory element to it, such as rice, and hid the shapes within, she gets incredibly thrilled when I pull this activity out. It’s amazing how a little rice will excite a toddler! Now if only I can get her to eat cooked rice…

*Adult supervision is always advised for the activities posted on this site.*

  • Small bin or tray
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Rice (switch it up by using cereal, lentils, or beans)

Sorting paper shapes hidden in rice toddler activity


Cut out a large circle, triangle, and square from construction paper along with 10 small circles, triangles, and squares. Bend the large shapes in half and cut out a hole in the middle. Glue each large shape on top of a toilet paper roll (I used hot glue for faster dry-time). Mix the small shapes in with the rice and pour into a container. Let the shape hunt begin!

What your toddler is learning
  • Shapes and colors
  • Fine motor skill (picking up each tiny shape with index finger and thumb)
  • Hand-eye coordination (placing the tiny shapes in the hole)
  • Cognitive skills (analyzing and matching the shapes)
  • Independent play

Sorting paper shapes hidden in rice toddler activity

Let me know below if you tried this activity and how it went 🙂

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