Find The Best Baby Shape Sorter

Top 10 Designs For Learning Through Play

A baby shape sorter is fun, engaging, and packed with learning potential. It’s a fantastic toy to give your little one to play with and will keep them engrossed for hours.

But, how do you choose the best shape sorter to buy from the many available?

Baby shape sorterThe perfect toy for learning through play

Choosing the Right Baby Shape Sorter

6 Things to consider:

1. Complexity – For a young baby, choose a very simple shape sorter, maybe one where they can push the shapes between elastic bands instead of, or as well as, through shaped holes. Older babies will have the dexterity to manage a more complex design.

2. Number of shapes – You don’t want to overwhelm your baby so consider how many shapes you think they will cope with at their current stage of development. You could either choose a shape sorter with a limited number of shapes or buy one with a wider variety of shapes but only give your little one a few to play with at a time.

3. Range of shapes – Sorting blocks with square, circular, triangular, and rectangular faces is a must if the shape sorter is to be a learning tool rather than just a toy for amusement. It’s fine for it to come with some irregular shapes as well, especially if your baby is rapidly heading towards toddler age.

4. Colors – As a baby shape sorter is an important toy for teaching your baby colors, choose a sorter with shapes in vibrant primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), and maybe also common secondary colors (green, orange, and purple).

5. Size of shapes – Ensure the shapes are chunky and easy for little hands to grasp and manipulate – not too large to hold or so small that they pose a choking risk.

6. Tactile element – Finally, consider choosing a sorter with tactile shapes, that is, with ribbed or bumpy surfaces for sensory exploration and stimulation.

best baby shape sortersFine motor skills development is just one of the many benefit of shape sorters

5 Benefits of a Baby Shape Sorter

When choosing the best shape sorter for your little one, it’s helpful to understand the main benefits that come with it. Here are the five most important.

1. Cognitive Development

A baby shape sorter is like a brain workout for your little one. When they attempt to fit a square block into a round hole and then discover it doesn't fit, they're learning. When they find the right shape to fit each hole, they achieve a learning victory.

This trial-and-error process is how your baby begins to understand spatial relationships. They gradually develop an innate sense of which shapes go where. These early cognitive skills set the stage for more complex thinking in the future.

2. Fine Motor Skills

The act of grasping, manipulating, and fitting shapes into the sorter's holes strengthens your baby's fine motor skills. Those tiny fingers that once struggled to hold a rattle or spoon begin to gain dexterity.

Fine motor skills are essential for everyday tasks for your little one like feeding themselves, grasping a chair to pull themselves up, and buttoning a shirt, or writing their name when they're older. The coordination and control they develop through shape sorting pave the way for these milestones.

3. Hand-Eye Coordination

While you probably take for granted the skills of picking up a fork and using it to deliver food to your mouth, or catching a ball, it’s something your baby has to learn. The precision needed to perform such actions comes down to hand-eye coordination, a skill that starts developing in early infancy.

Baby shape sorters promote hand-eye coordination as your little one learns to align the shape with the correct hole. It isn’t just a handy skill to have, it’s essential for everyday life. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to write, use a keyboard, or drive a car, and would struggle to even pick something up.

4. Color and Shape Recognition

Introducing your baby to different shapes and colors enhances their visual perception and recognition abilities. As they engage with their shape sorter, they begin to differentiate between a square and a circle, red and blue, and big and small.

These early lessons in color and shape recognition will prove invaluable when they start learning to differentiate between letters and numbers and are later introduced to more complex concepts in school.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Every time your baby encounters a shape that doesn't quite fit, they're faced with a mini puzzle. They must analyze the situation and find the right hole for each shape. This process fosters problem-solving skills that will serve them throughout their life.

As parents, we often marvel at the resilience and ingenuity of our little ones as they persist in trying to solve these shape-sorting challenges. It's a testament to their budding problem-solving abilities and determination. They are also developing focus and concentration at the same time.

Best Baby Shape Sorter – My Top 10

Now that we understand the incredible benefits of a baby shape sorter, let's dive into the top 10 options available. Each of these sorters offers unique features to cater to your baby's developmental needs.

1. HELLOWOOD Wooden Sorter Cube – 8 Shapes

This is an ideal first baby shape sorter offering two ways to post the shapes into the cube – through the elastic bands as an early activity, and through the shaped holes as your little one’s dexterity and hand-eye coordination develop. It comes with 8 different shapes (6 regular shapes, plus heart and star shapes) in bright colors. The blocks can also be used for stacking.

2. Sensory Shape Sorter – 10 Shapes

Next, we have a shape sorter of the same basic design, this time made of plastic rather than wood, but with two extra irregular shapes. However, the main reason I’ve included this sorter is for the tactile texture on some of the shapes. This sensory element will encourage your baby to explore the shapes and provide beneficial sensory stimulation.

3. Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Shape Sorter – 9 Shapes

Here’s another baby shape sorter with lots to offer. The padded case has two activity sides, one for shape sorting, and the other a gallery of fun pictures with matching shapes hidden under the crinkly flaps. The nine colorful shapes are textured on one surface and all drop easily through the sorter. A great activity center for fun and learning.

4. Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Cube – 12 Shapes

For older babies, Melissa & Doug have created a wooden cube sorter with solid wooden blocks in 4 colors. With holes on the top and in three of the sides, this is a great toy for developing your little one’s dexterity. If it’s too difficult for them to post blocks from the side angle at first, just turn the cube over for them. As their skills improve, challenge them to slot shapes into the sides. The 12 blocks are all different and include regular and irregular shapes.

5. Fat Brain Toys Oombee Cube Sorter – 6 shapes

If you want a shape sorter to take out and about, for car trips, or high chair play, this is a great choice. It’s been cleverly designed with the shapes attached with cord so they can’t be lost, or thrown. The brightly colored cube will immediately attract your baby’s attention, and they’ll love squeezing the textured silicone shapes which are safe for chewing so double as teethers.

6. Fisher-Price Baby's First Shapes for Sorting – 10 Shapes

This shapes sorter toy comprises 10 colorful blocks of five different shapes and colors to sort and stack, plus a carry case to sort them into and store them in. What I particularly like about it is that the blocks aren’t solid shapes so even very young babies with limited fine motor skills can easily pick them up and manipulate them.

7. Play22 Shape Sorter – 18 Shapes

To really challenge your little one, consider this 18 piece shape sorter set. It comprises 18 blocks of 9 different shapes (2 of each) in 4 colors. The blocks are a mix of regular and irregular shapes, have textured tops, and are hollow for extra easy pick-up. Holes in three sides of the cube create challenging angles for posting or maybe your little problem-solver will quickly work out how to make the task easier by turning the cube over.

8. Sassy Sushi Shape Sorter – 6 Shapes

This fun sushi-themed baby shape sorter includes 6 sushi-design blocks, two each with circular, square, and triangular faces. Each hole in the lid has a colored surround to match the shape that fits it for learning color matching skills. The sushi blocks are soft, textured, and squishy for your baby to grasp, explore, and mouth. Finally, the box is translucent so that your little one can watch the pieces drop inside.

9. MORITECK 3 in 1 Shape Sorter – 6 Shapes

For something a bit different, we have a baby shape sorter that offers a range of ways to play with it, promoting the development of several different skills. The pull-out draws are fun in themselves for your little one to play with. Once they’ve discovered how to move them in and out, things really get interesting. Shapes can be posted with the draws closed and retrieved by pulling the draws out. They’ll love that. If the back row of shapes are posted with the drawers half open, they’ll fall down the back so, when fully pulled out, the drawer will be empty leaving your little one wondering where they’ve gone. It will be a delight to watch them figure it out.

10. Green Toys Shape Sorter Truck

If your baby likes playing with vehicles or other toys that move along, they’re going to adore this shape sorter truck. It includes 4 chunky, textured shapes and a removable back bin. Your little one can post the shapes through the corresponding holes or pop them in the bin and tip them into the truck. Then all they have to do is tilt the hopper back to dump the contents out of the swinging door at the back, then do it all again. This excellent toy will probably be a favorite right through their toddler years.

Tips For Parents

Your Guide To Shape Sorter Play

As we’ve already discovered, playing with a baby shape sorter is a fun and educational activity that can help your little one develop important skills.

Here are some tips for making the most of this playtime:

  • Choose age-appropriate shape sorters – Make sure the shape sorter you select is designed for your baby's age and developmental stage. I’ve included a wide variety in my review list to make this easy for you.

  • Start with basic shapes – Begin by introducing your baby to the basic shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. These are easier to grasp and fit into the sorter.

  • Use simple language – Describe the shapes and colors as your baby plays. This helps build their vocabulary and understanding of basic concepts.

  • Demonstrate how it's done – Show your baby how to place the shapes into the sorter. Use slow and deliberate movements to make it easy for them to understand.

  • Encourage exploration – Once you’ve given a demonstration, allow your little one to explore the shapes and the sorter on their own. Let them try different shapes and figure out how they fit.

  • Praise and positive reinforcement – Celebrate your baby's successes, even small ones. Clap, smile, and provide positive feedback when they correctly place a shape in the sorter.

  • Be patient – It's normal for babies to struggle with coordination and problem-solving so they probably won’t get it right the first time. Offer encouragement and support without getting frustrated or being too quick to show them what to do. A nudge in the right direction may be all they need.

  • Gradually increase difficulty – As your baby becomes more proficient with the basic shapes, introduce more complex ones, such as stars or hearts, to challenge them further.

  • Practice sorting by color – Once your baby is comfortable with shapes, you can introduce color sorting. Encourage them to sort shapes by color, saying the color name as they do so.

  • Avoid overwhelming your baby – Keep focused play sessions short. Babies have short attention spans, so it's better to have multiple short play sessions throughout the day rather than one long one.

  • Be flexible – Every baby develops at their own pace. If your baby loses interest or becomes frustrated, it's okay to take a break and try again later or another day. They might not be quite ready for a shape sorter but may love it in a month or two’s time.

Remember that playtime with a shape sorter is not just about skill development; it's also about having fun and creating positive associations with learning. Enjoy this special time with your baby, and watch them grow and develop as they play.

Final Words

A baby shape sorter is not only a fun and rewarding toy for your little one to play with, but it’s also an excellent tool for nurturing their cognitive, motor, and problem-solving skills. By choosing the right shape sorter and engaging in playtime with them, you are actively aiding their development in countless ways.

So, get down on the play mat, and enjoy every moment of laughter and learning with your precious little one.

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About Jacky Spear

Jacky Spear passionately promotes learning toys for child development. With 30+ years of teaching experience, she understands the power of play in engaging and nurturing children, including those with special needs. Drawing from personal experience in both the school and home environment, Jacky helps parents to select the best learning toys to unlock their children's potential and create a lifelong love for learning. Learn more about Jacky >>

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