Shape Sorting Toys For Babies – How it Helps in Baby’s Development

5 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Shape Sorting Toys For Babies

Shape sorting toys for babies were there for centuries. But with time it has evolved into different forms, keeping the concept the same. Today, these toys or so popular that you will find them in almost every toy shop and every home with babies too. At the beginning of the twentieth century, toys that appeared were offered to babies to sort objects for different criteria. But the idea gained momentum with Maria Montessori’s invention of unique structures for the development of babies. In the 30s, factory toys appeared for the first time.

So, what exactly are shape-sorting toys and why are they so famous? Shape-sorting toys consist of different shapes that can be dropped into similar outlines on the containers. Basically, the baby has to match the shape of the toy with the outline. There are different varieties of shape-sorting toys. Some are flat, and others are cubes or shaped like toolboxes.

In This Article

What Are Shape Sorting Toys For Babies?

Shape sorting toys are educational toys for babies which help them to sort objects according to color, size, and shape. A shape-sorting toy will have a flat surface or a box with different-shaped holes. The toy comes with toy pieces that match with these holes. The baby has to identify the shape of each hole on the surface or the box, pick the matching piece and then fit it in the shape in the case of a flat toy or drop it in the case of a shape sorting box.

What is a Shape Sorter Made of?

Shape Sorter Made of

There are different types of shape sorters. Some are made of wood while others are made of plastic. There are also some shape sorters made of textured or fabric.

  • Wooden shape sorters are rectangular containers with 5 to 6 planes for sorting. They consist of more planes for sorting. It is important to be careful when a baby uses it as it can be dangerous for him/her if they chew it.
  • Plastic shape-sorting toys are good for babies to handle and use for play. They come in more basic shapes.
  • Textured or fabric shape sorters are made as plush cases for plush pieces to fit through. It consists of only one plane for sorting. Textured materials are good for the sensory development of babies. The shapes in textured toys are easy for babies to play with. It is not that challenging for them.

When to Introduce Shape Sorter Toys to Babies?

The earliest age to introduce shape sorter toys to your baby is once they are around 9 months old. At this age, they are too young to understand the purpose of this toy. They may just pick the pieces and throw them around, explore them or even put them around. But early introduction can help your baby get familiar with the shapes, colors and with the toys as a whole.

As your baby reaches 15 to 18 months, they may start to understand the purpose of the shape sorter sets and how to play with them. Babies develop the necessary skills to match the piece with the shape and try to fit the right shape in the right slot starting from the 15th month.

Do not expect your baby to perfectly match the slots with the shapes before they turn a year old. Babies take time to gain the necessary skills.

Top 6 Developmental Benefits of Shape Sorters Toys For Babies

Developmental Benefits of Shape Sorters Toys For Babies

Shape-sorters work on the following skills for different age groups of babies.

1. Fine Motor Skills

Shape sorting toys involve repeated actions to be able to achieve success in placing the shapes in the right slots. This repeated action will hone your baby’s fine motor skills.

2. Hand-Eye Coordination

The skill of placing the right shape in the slot requires hand eye coordination. Babies playing shape sorter games will be able to achieve this skill.

[Read : Development Of Hand-eye Coordination In Babies]

3. Problem Solving Skills

As your baby tries to match the shape and the slot through trial and error, they develop problem solving skills which will be very important later in life.

4. Cognitive Development

The overall skills such as fine motor skills, problem solving, and hand-eye coordination will lead to cognitive development in your baby or their ability to explore and process the things around them.

5. Identification of Shapes and Colors

Shape sorter toys come in different sizes and shapes and as babies are playing with them, parents can repeat each color and shape allowing the babies to learn and identify them quickly.

[Read : When Do Babies Start Seeing Colors?]

6. Cause and Effect Relationship

Babies learn that when they place the right shape into the right slot, the shape will settle into the slot or fall into the box depending on the type of the toy they are playing with.


How Do You Teach Your Baby Shape Sorting?

Teach Your Baby Shape Sorting

You can guide your baby in shape sorting by showing them examples of how it is done. Get down with your baby and start playing with them.

  • Show them the differences and similarities between objects. Start talking about the shapes and colors and which shape goes into which slot.
  • Stir conversation with your baby by asking questions like ” what are the shapes that have smooth edges and those with sharp edges?”
  • As your baby begins to recognize colors by that age you can use the knowledge to help them understand the different shapes.
  • You may ask, ” Which shape is red ?” or ” What is the color of a square?” Shape sorters also develop your baby’s verbal abilities.
  • You can ask your baby subjective questions based on shapes like ” Why does he/she like this shape?” It will help you to understand your baby more.
  • If your baby struggles with sorting at any point, you can show them the correct way.

There is no need to do everything at once, but a little guidance will help them as they learn. The babies learn to mimic by the age of 18 months. They will easily grasp the proper way of playing with the shape sorter when you show them.

Shape sorters for babies are a great tool to help your baby with creative thinking, verbal abilities, motor skill development, help in recognition of shapes and sizes, and identification of colors and objects. These toys will never go out of fashion. These are great developmental tools.


1. How Do Shape Sorters Work?

The shape sorter toy consists of a base and holes in different shapes and sizes: cube, square, ball, house, etc. There are also holes in the form of figures which should fit in the holes in the corresponding frames.

When a baby uses shape sorters it develops his/her logical thinking. He/she uses memory and learns to analyze and distinguish things. It also develops creative thinking. This game is recommended for any age group of children.

2. What Age Are Shape Sorters Good For Babies?

Babies should start playing with shape-sorters ideally at the age of two, but you can let your baby play as they turn one year old.

3. Are Shape Sorters Suitable For Babies?

Yes, they are classic toys that improve hand-eye coordination, problem-solving abilities, and the understanding of cause and effect.

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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