Are All Shapes Created Equal?


Are All Shapes Created Equal?

Learning and drawing basic shapes are generally associated with common preschool protocol just as much as circle time and two-hour naps.  Some people can recall a memory from that time in their lives but are hard-pressed to recollect specific details such a favorite shape.  This is probably because in the minds of many a shape is a shape is a shape, and the only special about them is their name.  Shapes, however, actually should be introduced in a specific order when learning to draw them.  This is determined by the ease of formation based on the development of pre-printing skills.  It is important to note that the direction of how shapes are formed help to shape (pun intended) future writing and reading skills.  Shapes are formed in a top to bottom and left to right direction.  Below you will see a list of seven basic shapes from the simplest to the most complex and the verbal directions you can use to help encourage the correct formation. 

Order of Development

1st Circle: Counter-clockwise line. Say, “Curve around.”

2nd Oval: Counter-clockwise line. Say, “Curve around.”

3rd Cross: Two intersecting lines. Say, “Zip down. Lift up.  Zoom Across.”

4th Square: Four intersecting lines. Say, “Zip down. Zoom across.  Lift up. Zoom across. Zip down.”

5th Rectangle: Four intersecting lines of different size. Say, “Zip down. Zoom across.  Lift up. Zoom across. Zip down.”

6th Triangle: Two diagonal lines. Say, “Slide down. Lift up. Slide down. Lift up. Zoom across.”

7th Diamond: Four diagonal lines. Say, “Slide down. Slide down. Lift up. Slide down. Slide down.”

Remember to consult with your pediatrician for a prescription to see an occupational therapist if your child is demonstrating delays in drawing or handwriting skills. Have a playful day!

 Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L

Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and Founder of Playapy. For more information, visit or email [email protected].