I started this game with my first daughter when she was about 18-months-old.  It worked so quickly that I was shocked, but hey when you do something right, be excited.  We got complements constantly for what a smart child we had, and of course we could only agree.  I will share my secret with you so that your small child can impress too with their knowledge of shapes and colors.

Print your game pieces here:  Color or Black & WhiteShapes and Colors Game Instructions

 
SET UP:
First, print out the 6 sets of shapes for this game.  If you are printing the black and white you will need to make sure that you color the shapes so that both copies of each shape are the same color.  I typically print them out on card stock or cut them out of construction paper.
HOW TO PLAY:
Then, set your child down and put one of each of the shapes on the floor in front of them.  You will keep the other set.  Sit in front of your child, pull out a shape from your set (for our example the green circle,) show it to the child and then say find me the green circle.  Their job is to look at their shapes, find the one that looks like yours and hand it to you.  At first, particularly if they are very young, they may choose the wrong one.  If they pick up the blue square you say, “Not that one.  That is the blue square.  Can you find the green circle?”  Then show them the green circle again and continue until they figure out what you are asking them to do.  Praise them when they do it correctly so they will want to continue.  I also let them keep the matched set in a pile next to them so that they feel like they are earning something by doing it correctly.VARIATIONS:
Once they have this basic step down make it harder by not showing them your set.  Just ask them to find the shape you want them to find.

To make it easier, start out by just asking them to find the shape.  “Can you find the heart?”  They love the heart.  Then when you feel that they are getting the shapes down, add the color into the question.  “Can you find the red heart?”  At some point you can change the cards so that the colors are different if you want to make it harder.  You can also just ask for the color and not the shape.
I typically can play this game through 2-3 times in a sitting before they start to get a little bored.

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