Most preschoolers love using their senses to explore their surroundings and make connections. Painting can be a great way to work on small motor skills, color identification, and inspiring creativity. As messy as it might be, this is a skill that is important for children to participate in and can be connected to different content areas.

Take math for example. Children can use paint to create and identify shapes. How can we do that? Well, it’s easy really with our 2D Shape Painting for Preschoolers! Take some blocks, manipulatives, or other toys to show how different objects can make the shapes we recognize around us. You wont even need a paintbrush!

Paint with shapes to create silly faces.

Recommended Grade Level:

2D Painting with Shapes Craft Supplies:

  • Paper Plate
  • Different colors of paint
  • Shape blocks or manipulatives
  • Paper
  • A container (optional)
  • Face stickers (optional)
  • Marker, crayons, or other writing tool

Painting With Shapes In Preschool

process art for preschoolers


Abstract art for preschoolers can be beneficial in brainstorming and problem solving.

This preschool painting with shapes activity is a hands-on way to use objects and represent different geometric shapes. Your students will be creating wonderful art that takes thought and time; also known as process art. Your kiddos can take their time creating funny faces on their shapes with stickers or drawing tools.

The materials needed for the art activity for preschoolers (and older children) are simple to find. Most of the art materials we can find in our own classrooms or at home.

The process art activity can be used to pre-assess a child’s knowledge of learning shapes, as a review after a lesson, or as a colorful geometric shapes wall painting!

In addition to learning about shapes, you can pose additional questions to young learners. Here are a few questions you could ask your students:

  • What things do you think you could make with these shapes? How would you make a building?
  • What would happen if we mixed some of the colors together?
  • What other objects could we use to paint a geometric art project?
  • Look at the face you made on your shape? Tell me about how that shape might be feeling? Why do you think that?
Completed shape process art project.

What Can Preschoolers Learn While Making a Fun Art Activity With Shapes?

process art activities for kids


You can use specific vocabulary to extend teach and extend upon art, science, and math:

  • Geometric patterns
  • Primary and secondary colors
  • Sides and angles
  • Elements of art
Use face stickers to make the shapes into silly faces.

Why Is It Important For Kids To Learn About Shapes?

Children are naturally curious about everything around them. Learning about and experimenting with different shapes can help them understand the world a little better.

Background Knowledge

Learning about basic geometric shapes is really the first step toward more complex math concepts, like angles and line segments.

Connect with Nature

The more children know and understand about the natural world, the more they will connect and understand to natural surroundings. What shapes, curves, and lines can I find in this sun flower? What makes this rectangle look like a tree?

Making Connections

What different shapes make up the way my living room at home is set up? Connecting new concepts with ideas that children are familiar with can help keep that information in their ever expanding brains.

Connecting Shapes to Letters

Letters, both lowercase and uppercase, are made with different shapes and lines. Connect how the letter B looks like it is made with two circles? What shape can you almost see in the letter Y?

How To Use Make the 2D Shape Art With Process Art

How to Make this Process Art Idea

Step One:

Squeeze washable paint on a disposable paper plate. Let your child choose the paint colors they want to use for their project.

Squirt paint on a paper plate to get ready for the shape painting.

Step Two:

Pick out different blocks shapes to use for painting. Other objects or shape manipulatives can be used depending on what you have on hand. A good tip is to place the blank paper in a container to control any messes.

Blank piece of paper and shapes ready for the shape art project.

Step Three:

Next, dip the shape blocks in the paint and press them onto the paper. Let children experiment with different colors and shapes. How many sides and angles does the triangle have? What shapes did you use to make your robot?

Press the shapes onto the paper.

Step Four:

As the paper is drying, ask children to find similarities and differences between the shapes. Why are some shapes filled in and some shapes only outlines?

Add different colors and shapes to the shape painting.

Step Five:

Finally, use face stickers or writing tools to create different emotions on the shapes. Have your students talk about the faces and they emotions they think they are portraying.

Completed shape process art project.

Penguin Shapes

Students can use different materials to create 2D shapes. Wax sticks are used in this 2D Penguin Shape activity.

Create a Book

Make a shape book with half sheets of paper and child shape painting along with the description on each page.

Picture Matching

Have your students find similar shapes that match their artwork in magazines, newspapers, or books. How are these the same? How are they different?

Process Art

Another way to encourage process art is through our Rainbow Bouncy Ball Painting Activity. How was the final product look different than in the beginning?

Have a Snack

Tasting is one of our favorite senses. An additional way to practice color recognition skills is by our Skittles Rainbow Color Experiment.

Play a Game

Continue learning about faces and emotions through our Emotions Board Game. What faces are the same as some of your shape faces?

author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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