Toddler and Pre-school Theme Days

Rectangle Day

Having a Rectangle Theme Day is a fun way to teach/review/reinforce the shapes with your pre-schooler.  Rectangles can be a bit tricky because they are similar to squares.  Make sure you’ve done the Square Theme Day first and then when having this theme day reinforce the difference between a square and a rectangle by repeatedly showing your child the long and short sides.

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



I couldn’t think of any specific children’s song for a rectangle theme but many children’s CD’s have songs about shapes.  Check your own collection to see what you have.




Print out my Rectangles Coloring Page or go online to your favourite search engine and type in “Rectangle Colouring Page.”   Guide your child to trace his/her finger over the various rectangles and say over and over again “long, long ,short, short” to illustrate and reinforce the difference between a rectangle and a square.





Materials: Rectangle Stickers or rectangle foam stickers or rectangle paper cut outs, coloured paper, glue stick, and a face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Let your child choose what colour paper he/she wants for the background.

Step 2: Give your child the stickers or cut outs and let him/her stick or glue them to the coloured paper in any design or manner.




Materials: Crayons and markers, coloured paper, child-safe scissors, glue stick, my Things That Are Rectangular Colouring Page, face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Sit with your child as he/she colours each object on the colouring page.

Step 2: Help your child cut out the individual pictures.

Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use.

Step 4: Fold the sheet of coloured paper into three parts (as if you were going to put it in an envelope) and cut it along the folds to make three rectangles.

Step 5: Fold each of these three pieces of paper in half and cut along the folds to make six smaller pieces of paper.

Step 6: Have your child apply glue to each coloured picture and glue each one to a separate sheet of small paper.

Step 7: Help your child staple the sheets of paper together to make a little book.

Step 8: Read the book together to review what rectangles are.




Materials: Coloured paper, old magazines, child-safe scissors, glue stick, face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Look through old magazines with your child and have him/her point out anything that is rectangle in shape.

Step 2: Help your child cut out the rectangle pictures to make a pile of rectangle pictures.

Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use.

Step 4: Show your child how to glue the pictures onto the coloured paper to make a collage and then let him/her glue the rectangle pictures on the paper however he/she wants.

Step 5: When the collage is dry display (fridge, bulletin board, child’s door) or glue into the Family Theme Day Scrapbook.




Materials: A piece of hard construction paper (or simply paper from an old cereal box), scissors (for adult use), an art sponge for dipping in paint or a paintbrush, paint, white paper, waxed paper, damp cloth for messy fingers, newspaper or plastic for covering the table, old t-shirts or art smocks.


Step 1: Cut the construction paper into a number of pieces of various sizes.

Step 2: Fold each piece of construction paper in half and cut a rectangle out with one edge being the middle of the fold. When you open each piece of paper you should have a rectangle shape.  Try to make various sizes (skinny, fat, long...)

Step 3: Have your child pick the colour or colours of paint he/she wants to use.

Step 4: Lay the homemade rectangle stencils on the white paper.

Step 5: Show your child how to press an art sponge into the paint and press it on the stencils so that the paint presses onto the white paper leaving a rectangle print when the stencil is carefully removed (or simply use paint brushes if you have no art sponges).

Step 6: Let your child position the stencils around the paper and sponge paint over them to create a triangle picture.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about shapes and flip to the rectangle pages.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about shapes.


Go to the library on your own to find books about shapes to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in “Rectangles” or “shapes” under Children’s Books).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Read some of these titles if you can find them:


· Red Bear’s Fun With Shapes, by Bodel Rikys, Dial Books for Young Readers, 1992 – Simple and bright illustrations show Red Bear throughout the day as he encounters different shapes including a rectangle (also has some different shapes like zig zag and spiral).


· Shape up Goz, by Steve Weatherill, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2004 – This is a cute lift the flap book about a baby duck who searches the farm to find his special shape.  While this book does not focus on the rectangle it does mention it.




Rectangle crackers: there are many different types of crackers that are rectangle, try to find some in different sizes.


Slice a block of cheddar into rectangles (also good with rectangular crackers).


Cut a cucumber lengthwise to make rectangular slices for a vegetable snack.



              Baguette pizza melt:

Cut the ends off a baguette (save to put in blender to make homemade bread crumbs) and then cut the bread lengthwise to reveal a rectangular surface.  Spread pizza sauce (or tomato sauce mixed with Italian spices) and top with favourite pizza toppings (meat and veg) and sprinkle grate cheese on top.   Then place under broiler for 3 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn).



Lasagne in a long pan makes a rectangular dinner.



Make Rice Krispie treats in a long rectangular pan and cut them into rectangles for a sweet treat.





Materials: rectangle stickers or cut outs, a pen, glue stick (if needed), print out of the List of Rectangles I Can See worksheet.


· Step 1: Explain to your child that you are both on a hunt for the rectangles.

· Step 2: Walk around the house and/ or outside to look for things that are rectangle in shape.

· Step 3: When your child finds something rectangle you will write the name of the object on a slip of rectangle paper or a rectangle sticker and your child will stick the rectangle on the chart.

· Step 4: At the end of the hunt sit down and count out loud together how many rectangle things you both found.  Review what you found by reading the chart out loud.




If your child has any shape sorting toys or puzzles play with them to review the shapes paying particular attention to the rectangles.





Play “I Spy with My Little Eye” only searching for rectangle things.







Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with the theme of teaching shapes.


Try to find some of these titles that highlight the shapes:


· Baby Einstein: Baby Newton – All about Shapes, Baby Einstein Company, Walt Disney Home Video, 2002—with puppets, computer animated crayons and a clown made of shapes, plus videos of various toys and nature etc. to illustrate five basic shapes, this DVD is a great learning tool.  It uses classical music plus a catchy song about shapes as well.


· Baby Einstein: Discovering Shapes Circles, Squares and More – Baby Einstein Company, Walt Disney Home Video, 2007—This one focuses on circles, ovals, triangles, squares and rectangles without the computer animated feature of the first one, but has more puppets and video clips of various toys and nature etc.. This has great added features for more interactive learning with your child.


· Blue’s Clues: Shapes and Colors, Viacom International Inc, 2003—Blue the dog and Joe go on a shape search while playing Blue’s Clues.


· Brainy Baby: Shapes and Colors, The Brainy Baby Company, LLC, 2002 This DVD uses classical music, original songs about the shapes, live action clips of children with shapes (of various ages) and of toys, plus a few computer animated things as well (Highlights 12 shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, heart, oval, diamond, crescent, pentagon, hexagon and octagon).


· Sesame Street: Guess That Shape and Color, Sesame workshop, 2006—Elmo and Zoe and other friends on Sesame Street have fun with shape guessing games and searches .

Rectangle collage with stickers and cut outs

Magazine collage of rectangles

Home made rectangle stencils

Stamp prints made from rectangle stencils

Photo: C Wright

Rectangular blocks

Rectangle Hunt