32 Shape Names with Pictures (2D & 3D Examples)

Let’s learn shapes with these 32 shape names with pictures! Shape recognition is important in the child development of toddlers and preschoolers – setting the foundation for pre-reading and writing plus early math skills. 

Use this shapes list which includes the names of shapes with pictures to know which shapes you should teacher your toddler, preschooler, and kindergarten kid. I’ve included basic shapes for toddlers, advanced two-dimensional shapes with the number of sides, as well as geometric shapes names for three-dimensional objects

Picture of a toddler playing with shaped blocks with text overlay: How do you explain shapes to toddlers?

Why is Learning Shapes Important for Kids?

Shape recognition in child development is critical because it helps them understand the world around them, and build the cognitive skills they’ll need for lifelong learning. Introduce basic shapes to toddlers and add more advanced ones through preschool and kindergarten.

Why are shapes important in life? Here are some of the benefits of learning shapes for kids and the importance of shapes in early childhood education.

1. Seeing Differences Between Objects

The ability to see differences between objects, or visual discrimination, is a critical cognitive skill we all use on a daily basis. To get dressed, brush our teeth, and read and write. Learning shapes is the perfect way to start practicing visual discrimination skills.

2. Pre-Reading Skills

Seeing the difference between shapes is the basis of understanding signs and symbols. And kids can apply those skills to letters and numbers – one of the first steps of learning to read.

3. Early Math Skills

If you’re wondering: what are math concepts for preschoolers? It’s shapes! Learning shapes is the foundation of learning geometry and math. Being able to count the sides of the shape and understanding measurement are the foundation of preschool math development.

a child's hands holding a box that has different shapes including circles, crescents, rectangles, triangles, crosses and half moons.

4. Understanding Their Environment

When kids start seeing patterns in shapes, they can visualize their environment and differentiate objects that surround them. This is crucial for development and critical for have to build other important cognitive skills.

5. Spatial Skills

Understanding how a 2D shape like a circle transforms into a 3D shape like a sphere helps kids develop spatial reasoning skills. And this is critical for developing language & communication skills as well as mathematical development, according to researchers at Standford University

6. Vocabulary and Communication

Learning shapes is a great way to start building vocabulary as a toddler and giving them a way to start communicating about the world around them.

7. Categorization & Sorting

Once kids are able to tell the difference between objects, then they can start to group them into similar categories. Categorization and sorting are fantastic activities for toddlers and preschool kids and help them move on to more skills like pattern recognition.

8. Pattern Recognition & Problem-Solving

Once kids can see the difference between objects, they can start to see patterns forming. 

Types of Shapes

Before we dive into the different shapes, let’s talk about different types of shapes: polygons, quadrilaterals, parallelograms, and shape dimensionality. Then in the following sections we’ll discuss each of the different kinds of shapes in detail, including the shape names with pictures for each one.

What is a polygon?

Polygons are any two-dimensional shapes with at least 3 straight sides and angles (like a square or triangle). It’s a closed figure made up of straight lines, where each line connects to the next one. Polygons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can have different numbers of sides and angles.

a regular polygon with 5 sizes (pentagon) is on the left with an irregular polygon with 5 sides is on the right

Regular vs Irregular Polygons. A regular polygon means that all of its sides are the same length, and all of its angles are the same too. An irregular polygon has at least one side or angle that is not the same as the others.

What is a quadrilateral?

A quadrilateral is a type of polygon shape that has four straight sides and four angles. A rectangle is a type of quadrilateral where all of the interior angles are equal. A trapezoid is an example of a quadrilateral where the angles are not all the same.

What is a parallelogram?

A parallelogram is a shape that is a type of quadrilateral that has two sets of parallel lines. Opposite sides of a parallelogram are parallel to each other, which is why it’s called a parallelogram. The sides can be of different lengths, but the pairs of opposite sides are always the same length.

There are 4 types of parallelograms: square, rectangle, rhombus, and rhomboid.

Two-dimensional vs Three-dimensional Shapes

Two-dimensional shapes (2-D) are flat and have only two dimensions: length and width. They’re like pictures or images that you see on a sheet of paper or a computer screen. Some examples of two-dimensional shapes include squares, triangles, rectangles, and circles. When you draw a two-dimensional shape, you’re only drawing its outline, so it doesn’t have any thickness or depth.

On the left is a 2 dimensional shape of a square and on the right is a 3 dimensional diagram of a cube

On the other hand, three-dimensional shapes (3-D) have three dimensions: length, width, and depth. They’re like objects that you can hold in your hand or see in the real world. Some examples of three-dimensional shapes include cubes, spheres, pyramids, and cylinders. When you look at a three-dimensional shape, you can see its height, width, and depth, and you can also feel its thickness and solidity.

The main difference between 2-D and 3-D shapes is that 2-D shapes only have length and width, while 3-D shapes have length, width, and depth. This makes three-dimensional shapes more realistic and tangible, as they can be seen from different angles and have a sense of volume.

Basic Shape Names with Pictures

Let’s start with some basic types of shapes and their names, perfect for toddlers to learn. These common shapes are all 2-D shapes great for learning in Pre-K and primary school. They are shapes we see in every day life, and set the foundation of shape learning. Here are the shape names with pictures of 5 basic geometric shapes.

List titled 5 Shapes Toddlers Should know followed by a picture of a circle, square, oval, rectangle and triangle

How do you explain shapes to preschoolers? Use simple terms and examples that are relatable. Below I’ve included kid-friendly explanations to help you describe the shapes as you introduce them to toddlers and preschoolers.

picture of a black circle on a white background

Circle

A circle is a round shape that looks like a wheel or a coin. It’s like a loop that has no corners or edges, so it’s a closed structure. Imagine drawing a curve that starts and ends at the same point, without lifting your pen from the paper – that’s a circle! The center of the circle is the point in the middle, and it’s an equal distance from the center to any given point on the edge.

black oval shape on a white background

Oval

An oval is a shape that’s like an outline of an egg or a stretched-out circle. It has a curved edge that’s not perfectly round, and two ends that are pointy. If you imagine squeezing a circle from the sides and making it longer, you would get an oval shape.

black square photo on a white background

Square

A square is a shape that has four straight lines that are all the same length, and four corners that are all right angles, which means they make a perfect 90-degree angle. It’s like a box or a piece of paper that has all equal sides. A square has straight sides that meet the other sides at a corner.

black 2D rectangle shape on a white background

Rectangle

A rectangle is a shape that has four sides and four corners, just like a square shape, but the sides are not all the same length. Instead, it has two side lengths that are longer than the other two, and all of the corners are right angles. It’s like a stretched-out square that can be tall or wide.

black 2D equilateral triangle on white background

Triangle

A triangle is a shape that has three sides and three corners, also known as vertices. It’s like a slice of pizza. Each side of a triangle is a straight line that connects two corners, and the corners are where the sides meet. Triangles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can be classified by their angles or sides.

Advanced 2-D List of Shapes

a diagram of 16 2-dimensional shape names with pictures including a pentagon, trapezoid, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, equilateral triangle, right triangle, isosceles triangle, scalene triangle, diamond, rhombus, star, heart, crescent, and arrow

Now let’s cover some different shapes images and names, that are still two-dimensional but go beyond common shapes. Below, you’ll find the shapes and their names and number of sides.

2-dimensional black pentagon shape on a white background

Pentagon

A pentagon is a five-sided polygon shape that has five straight sides and five angles.

picture of a 2-dimensional black trapezoid shape on a white background

Trapezoid

A trapezoid is a four-sided shape that looks like a rectangle with one of its sides leaning over. It has two parallel sides and two non-parallel sides. The parallel sides are called the bases, and the non-parallel sides are called the legs.

2-dimensional black hexagon shape on a white background

Hexagon

A hexagon is another type of polygon that has six straight sides and six angles. Hexagons can be found in nature. For example, honeycombs are made up of hexagonal cells that bees use to store honey and raise their young.

2-dimensional black heptagon shape on a white background

Heptagon

A heptagon is a shape that has seven straight sides and seven angles and is another type of polygon.

2-dimensional black octagon shape on a white background

Octagon

Octagons are also polygon shapes that have eight straight sides and eight angles. A stop sign is an example of an octagon.

2-dimensional black nonagon shape with nine sides on a white background

Nonagon

A nonagon is a shape that has nine straight sides and nine angles and is also a type of polygon. Some crystal structures are examples of a nonagon.

black 2D equilateral triangle on white background

Equilateral Triangle

Equilateral triangles are a three-sided shape that has three equal sides and three equal angles. Like a slice of pizza.

picture of a 2-dimensional black scalene triangle shape on a white background

Scalene Triangle

A scalene triangle is a type of triangle that has three sides of different lengths. When we draw a scalene triangle, it looks like a triangle that is uneven because its sides are not equal to each other. It doesn’t have any right angles or any angles that are the same size. 

picture of a 2-dimensional black right triangle shape on a white background

Right Triangle

A right triangle is a type of triangle that has one angle that measures exactly 90 degrees. This angle is called the “right angle” because it looks like the corner of a square. The other two angles can be any size, but they are always smaller than 90 degrees.

picture of a 2-dimensional black isosceles triangle shape on a white background

Isosceles Triangle

An isosceles triangle is a type of triangle that has two sides that are the same length and one side that is different. It also has two angles that are the same size, which are opposite the equal sides.

picture of a 2-dimensional black rhombus shape on a white background

Rhombus

A rhombus is a shape that has four equal sides and four equal angles. It’s a type of parallelogram, which means that opposite sides of a rhombus are parallel to each other. However, unlike other parallelograms, the angles in a rhombus are always equal to each other. It looks like a square that’s been pushed to the side.

picture of a 2-dimensional black heart shape on a white background

Heart

A heart shape looks like two bumps on the top and a point at the bottom, kind of like an upside-down V with a curve in the middle. The heart shape is used in many different ways, like on Valentine’s Day cards, as a symbol of love, or even to show that we care about someone. 

image of a 2-dimensional black cross shape on a white background

Cross

A cross shape is a symbol that looks like a plus sign. It has one line that goes up and down, and another line that goes left and right, crossing in the middle. The cross shape is used in many different ways, like on flags, in religious symbols, or even in medical logos. 

photo of a 2-dimensional black arrow shape on a white background

Arrow

An arrow shape is a symbol that we use to show direction. It looks like a line with a pointy end on one side. Arrows are used in many different ways, like on signs to show which way to go, or on maps to show where things are. 

picture of a 2-dimensional black star shape on a white background

Star

A star has five or more points that come together to make a shape that looks like a starburst.

picture of a 2-dimensional black crescent shape on a white background

Crescent

A crescent shape is a symbol that looks like a moon that is not completely round. It has a curved shape that is wider in the middle and tapers to a point at both ends.

picture of a 2-dimensional black diamond shape on a white background

Diamond

A diamond has a square shape that is tilted on its side, with two points on the top and bottom, and two points on the sides. Diamonds are used in many different ways, like on playing cards, in logos, or even in jewelry.

3D Shapes List with Pictures

So far we’ve only covered 2-D shapes, but now let’s look at three-dimensional shapes. 3D shapes have length, width and depth and are geometric figures shaped like objects that we’d see in real life. Here are some common 3D shape names with pictures.

picture of a 3-dimensional black sphere shape on a white background

Sphere

A sphere is a three-dimensional shape that looks like a round ball. A basketball and Earth are examples of spheres. A sphere has no corners or edges, and all of its points are the same distance away from the center. This distance is called the radius. If we cut a sphere in half, we get two identical halves called hemispheres.

picture of a 3-dimensional black cube shape on a white background

Cube

A cube is a three-dimensional shape that looks like a box, with six square faces that are all the same size. When we think of a cube, we might imagine dice from a game or a block of ice. A cube has straight edges and sharp corners, and all of its faces meet at right angles.

picture of a 3 types of 3-dimensional black pyramid shapes on a white background

Pyramid

A pyramid is a three-dimensional shape that has a polygonal base and triangular faces that meet at a single point called the apex. The base of a pyramid can be any polygon, like a square, rectangle, or triangle, and the remaining faces are triangles that slant up to meet at the apex.

picture of a 3-dimensional black triangular pyramid tetrahedron shape on a white background

Triangular Pyramid (or a Tetrahedron)

A triangular pyramid is a three-dimensional shape that has a triangular base and three triangular faces that meet at a single point called the apex.

picture of a 3-dimensional black square pyramid shape on a white background

Square Pyramid

A square pyramid is like a triangular pyramid, but it has a square base and four triangular faces that meet at a single point called the apex.

picture of a 3-dimensional black hexagonal pyramid shape on a white background

Hexagonal Pyramid

Similar to the triangular and square a pyramid, a hexagonal pyramid is a three-dimensional shape that has a hexagonal base and six triangular faces that meet at a single point called the apex. It has a hexagonal base with six sides and six angles, and the remaining faces are triangles that slant up to meet at the apex. 

picture of a 3-dimensional black cylinder shape on a white background

Cylinder

A cylinder is a three-dimensional shape that has two circular bases that are parallel to each other and connected by a curved surface. When we think of a cylinder, we might imagine a soda can, a roll of paper towels.

picture of a 3-dimensional black cone shape on a white background

Cone

A cone is a three-dimensional shape that has a circular base and a curved surface that tapers up to a single point called the apex. When we think of a cone, we might imagine an ice cream cone, a traffic cone, or a cone-shaped volcano.

picture of a 3-dimensional black triangular prism shape on a white background

Triangular Prism

A triangular prism is a three-dimensional shape that has two triangular bases and three rectangular faces that connect them. When we think of a triangular prism, we might imagine a tent or a prism-shaped crystal. 

picture of a 3-dimensional black rectangular prism cuboid shape on a white background

Rectangular Prism (or Cuboid)

A rectangular prism is a three-dimensional shape that has six rectangular faces, where each face is at a right angle to the adjacent faces. When we think of a rectangular prism, we might imagine a shoebox, a tissue box, or even a book. It’s also knowns as a cuboid.

Symmetrical Shapes Pictures with Names

Symmetrical shapes are shapes that you can divide in half and both sides would be perfectly identical. This means that if you were to fold the shape in half along the line of symmetry, you’d have two identical halves.

Here are the most common symmetrical shapes:

picture of a 2-dimensional gray circle with a line of symmetry through the center

Circle

A circle has infinite lines of symmetry and is the most symmetrical shape.

picture of a 2-dimensional gray square with a line of symmetry through the center

Square

A square has four lines of symmetry, dividing it into four identical parts.

picture of a 2-dimensional gray rectangle with a line of symmetry through the center

Rectangle

A rectangle has two lines of symmetry, dividing it into two identical parts.

picture of a 2-dimensional gray triangle with a line of symmetry through the center

Equilateral Triangle

An equilateral triangle has three lines of symmetry, dividing it into three identical parts.

picture of a 2-dimensional gray hexagon with a line of symmetry through the center

Regular Hexagon

A regular hexagon has six lines of symmetry, dividing it into six identical parts.

picture of a 2-dimensional gray octagon with a line of symmetry through the center

Regular Octagon

A regular octagon has eight lines of symmetry, dividing it into eight identical parts.

Fun with Shapes Activities

To help your toddler or preschooler learn shapes, you can use a set of shape flashcards for lots of fun hands-on activities like a shape matching sensory bin, or a shape matching relay race. 

The best way to help kids learn shapes is to make it relatable to real life. Use these shapes with examples cards that have pictures of real life objects + shapes in nature on them. There are so many interactive learning activities you can do with these cards. 

indoor shape scavenger hunt
Set up a shape matching activity with shapes with examples cards

One of my favorites is to use the shape cards as a checklist for a shape scavenger hunt. And explore your environment with your child, looking for shapes in the wild.  Either indoors or outdoors. Like, a rectangular tabletop.  Or a round tree stump.

Want to Learn More?

I’ve got you covered!  Oh, and if we haven’t met, hi! I’m Stefanie—designer fo printable learning activities for busy moms who want their toddlers and preschoolers to love learning (through play). If you like these shape activities, and want more Little Moon in your life, here are some ideas:

Check out these color matching activities. Learning colors goes hand-in-hand with shape learning. This bundle includes 3 hands-on color learning activities with beautiful watercolor artwork.

Subscribe to my newsletter. I send one play activity idea, once a week, giving you some serious inspiration for what to do with your toddler or preschooler that week. I send out freebies and special treats, all for my email list.

Read the rest of my blog. It’s home to lots of play & learn activities, arts & crafts projects, activities to build your kiddo’s cognitive skills, and Montessori activity ideas and info.

Shop my printable activities. Explore nature-themed printable activities for your toddler and preschooler to help them learn through play. All hands-on activities — the healthiest way for your young kiddo to learn. And designed with watercolor artwork, so you’ll love adding it to your beautiful home.

1 thought on “32 Shape Names with Pictures (2D & 3D Examples)”

Leave a Comment


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Hey There

I'm Stefanie—Founder & Designer For Little Moon

If you’re a toddler or preschooler parent who dreams of having a kid who is captivated by learning — but are too busy raising your tiny human on exactly 3 hours of sleep to research educational activities — nice to meet you, I’m your new solution.

I’m a cognitive psychologist + toddler mom, and I design nature printable activities to help your little one grow, learn and thrive through hands-on play, in a healthy way.

free download

Want 15 Creative Activities You Can Do with Flashcards?

Stop using drills and focus on games that make your child want to learn. Here are 15 unconventional activities to start thinking out of the box.

special delivery

Get Fresh Activities—straight to your inbox

Want to get fun-filled activities & research-backed tips to support your little one’s development + super secret offers? Say hello to Little Moon Mondays newsletter.

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00
Send this to a friend