Choosing the right shape sorter

Being that I often work with young children in their homes, I’ve noticed that many families tend to select the same few common toys for their children. While the general idea behind each toy is always positive, the overall design sometimes has room for improvement.

It’s important to remember that just because a toy is widely available in stores, does not necessarily make it the most worthwhile option. With that in mind, I did some research and created a list of toys that I typically see at children’s homes, with alternative options for you to look into that I feel are more beneficial for a child’s growth and development.

Since there was so much information, I decided to use today’s blog post to just discuss shape sorters. You can click on any of the pictures to learn more about the toy.

If you have or work with young kids, there is a good chance you’ve seen the shape sorter above by Fisher Price. I personally see it everywhere. This shape sorter isn’t bad, but I would like for you to take a look at a few more creative options with additional benefits. It’s important to mention that when choosing a first shape sorter it would be beneficial for the shapes to stay visible at the top. That way a child can understand the concept rather than just use a trial and error approach.

I would suggest trying:

This shape sorter by Big Jigs, which is beautifully made with calm and soothing colors. Here kids can also practice matching by color not just shape.  The wooden pieces also have a little more weight than plastic, making it great for encouraging motor skills and coordination when stacking.

This shape sorter by BeginAgain is also a balancing game and is helpful with keeping a child’s attention and encouraging problem solving, coordination, and fine motor skills.

 This shape sorter by Tolo Toys comes with shapes that make different rattle sounds and can be hammered into their correct spots with a hammer. Using a hammer encourages eye-hand coordination and bilateral coordination. The rattle sounds also promote attention and auditory processing.

This is another shape sorter that I really like. This one is a bit more challenging because it doesn’t have the matching colors on the bottom to provide visual cues. Love that the shapes are clear without extra distractions and are beautifully made.

If you are looking for a shape sorter where the pieces do fall inside, I suggest looking into these:

Here, the wooden design is interesting and engaging but not overly stimulating.  I like how you can still see the wooden pieces inside the house after they fall in. This shape sorter can also be used in combination with other toys to encourage pretend play as the child gets older.

This is another great one for beginners. I love that children are encouraged to scan a large surface area for the correct spots, promoting visual attention and concentration.

This one is slightly more difficult. Here children should already have an understanding of the concept and be ready to locate the matching holes by turning the shape sorter around. This toy is well made and not overly distracting which gives kids an opportunity to focus on the challenging task.

Of course, these are some suggestions. There really are so many wonderful and unique shape sorters out there. I encourage you to take a look and see what you can find.