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Toddler Shape Activity with Cotton Swabs

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This easy toddler shape activity is easy to set up for your toddler with a simple household item. Grab a few cotton swabs for this fun fine motor activity idea.

Toddler Shape Activity with Cotton Swabs

Fine Motor Cotton Swab Shapes

This is a fun go-to activity when your toddler needs something simple and hands-on.

Have a few shape cards ready to go for a fun activity break in the afternoon. You can also simply provide the cotton swabs, glue, and plain paper and let the creative juices flow.

This activity is easy to set up and prompts early math play as it supports creativity and imagination.

What you need:

Toddler Shape Activity with Cotton Swabs

Cardstock or construction paper


Cotton swabs

You can use paper or cardboard for this activity.

If preferred, cotton swabs can be dipped in paint colors and dried beforehand. This will add more fun and learning to the activity with naming and sorting colors.


Trace or draw shapes onto paper. You can draw them free hand, or measure with a ruler.

Approximate measurements for the shapes we used are: 3.5 inches (9 cm) for the sides of the triangle; 3 inch (8 cm) sides for the square; 3.5 x 6 (9 x 15.5 cm) for the rectangle.

Kids place cotton swabs on the lines to form the shapes. Talk about the shapes as you play.

How many swabs do you need for the square?

Can cotton swabs fit inside the shapes?

There are a few different options for drawing the shapes. You can make several shapes on one piece of paper, or make individual cards with one shape on each card.

You can make the shapes large or small, or draw each shape with a different color marker or crayon.

Kids can glue the swabs in place, or reuse them over and over.

You can laminate cards for durability for reusing.

Toddler Shape Activity with Cotton Swabs

A large circle provides even more opportunities for creativity.

Can you make the circle into a sun or a flower?

Encourage your toddler to use the materials to make abstract designs and patterns, or to make pictures with a house, a tree, or a train.

Toddler Shape Activity with Cotton Swabs

This simple activity supports fine motor skills and lots of creative math play.

The easy setup and availability of materials make it a go-to activity.

What shapes will you and your toddler make today?

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