Make a DIY Shape Sorter

Shape sorters are a fantastic toy for toddlers – they help in the development of fine motor skills, introduce early math concepts like shapes and spatial awareness, and can encourage problem solving and organizational skills. Best of all, they are fun!

Easy diy shape sorter

This super easy DIY shape sorter uses recycled materials and items you probably have in your home right now. It will only take about thirty minutes to make and you will have a homemade toy that is fun and full of learning opportunities.


1. Cardboard box (even just the lid of a box will do)

2. Pencil

3. Scissors or craft knife

4. Wooden blocks in a variety of shapes and sizes

5. Markers in colors to match the wooden blocks

6. Paper and adhesive tape (optional, see below)

Make a shape sorter for toddlers


1. Arrange the wooden blocks on the lid of the cardboard box.

2. Using the pencil, draw an outline around each of the wooden blocks.

3. Remove the blocks and then cut out the shapes. It would be easiest to use a craft knife for this step, but all I had on hand was a pair of scissors and it was still possible without too much difficulty. Be sure to test each of the holes to make sure they are large enough by pushing the corresponding block through each one.

DIY toys for toddlers

4. If you are using a plain cardboard box, then you could skip this step. The box I used was covered in pictures and was would have been quite distracting when trying to sort the blocks, so I covered it in white paper. Simply cover the whole box like wrapping a present, then cut out the areas where the holes are in the cardboard. Fold the paper back inside the box and tape it down on the inside.

5. Use the colored markers to outline the holes in the same color as the block that will be put through that shape.

6. Place the lid on the box and you are ready to play!

7. The box we used was a lidded one. It works well because the blocks are easy to retrieve – just remove the lid and there they are. It is also handy because the blocks are contained neatly within the box when the shape sorter is not in use. If you happen to have a box that is all-in-one with a flap closure, that will work just as well, although you might want to cut an opening in one side of the box to make it easy for your toddler to retrieve the blocks from inside.

That’s it! So quick, so simple and lots of fun! Now I have plans to make a more challenging version such as using several different sizes of the same shape or using household items instead of blocks.

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About Ness

Ness is the creator of One Perfect Day a site full of creative ideas for kids to play and learn, family recipes, children’s book reviews and information about positive parenting and connecting with our children. Ness loves creating fun kids’ activities and has decided that permanently having paint under her fingernails and play dough in her hair is a fashion statement. You can find One Perfect Day on Facebook and Twitter or follow along on Pinterest