There are lots of hands-on activities that you can do with kids to teach the shapes in Spanish and use lots of other language at the same time. Many activities with shapes also incorporate vocabulary used with colors, patterns and numbers. You can also structure activities to focus on and repeat certain verbs.
To make a hands-on activity an effective language learning experience, the key is to model the words and structures you want children to learn, and to provide structured opportunities for them to produce the language correctly. For example, for beginners you might be focusing on veo and ves in addition to shapes in Spanish. In that case, you would say Veo un cuadrado, point to the shape, and then hand it to the child. Once you are sure that the child understands cuadrado, you can ask ¿Ves un cuadrado? If she does not point to the shape, repeat Yo veo un cuadrado and point. The child is learning the shapes in Spanish, but also hearing the verb used correctly.
These are some of the common shape words in Spanish:
el círculo – circle
el óvalo – oval
el triángulo – triangle
el cuadrado – square
el rectángulo – rectangle
el pentágono – pentagon
el diamante / el rombo – diamond / rhombus
el corazón – heart
la estrella – star
Hands-on Activities to Learn Shapes in Spanish
Follow the links for great pictures of the activities.
Shapes on a Tabletop
You make this activity using blocks and tape. In the photo, they used colored blocks and colored tape, so it is also a review of colors. This is a good activity for focusing on the verb ver, like the example above. You can also incorporate the verb encontrar in the preterite: Encontré el círculo. Encontraste el cuadrado.
Rainbow Shape Rocks
Making these rocks is a great language activity for reviewing colors and shapes. Once you have them, you can sort by color and shape, create patterns with colors and shapes, and match the shapes and colors to items around the house or classroom.
Color and Shape Match Game
To make this simple match game you cut shapes out of construction paper or foam board and trace them onto cardboard to make a game board. Color the shapes to match your pieces and you are ready to play. Again, you can review colors as children learns shapes in Spanish and you can also incorporate verbs like ver, encontrar and poner.
Shapes with Craft Sticks
This is an activity that reinforces the number of sides each shape has. If you follow the link, you will see that she included the number of sides on the sticks. When I made my sticks, I added velcro dots (cut in half). I put velcro on both ends and both sides so that the sticks would fit together in many ways. They are not as pretty, but I wanted the kids to be able to pick them up. For children who are beginning to read in Spanish, you can write the words on the sticks, but you certainly do not have to. Model the verb hacer as you do this activity: Hice un triángluo. ¿Haces un cuadrado? Sí, hiciste un cuadrado.
I like how much movement is used in this activity. You make outlines of shapes with tape on the floor. Make them big enough to hold several small objects. Kids search for items in the house or classroom that have that shape and put them in the outline. As they are looking, be sure to use the shapes in Spanish and the verbs buscar, encontrar and poner.