North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal: Children identify and use common shapes and concepts about position during play and other activities.

Skill Progression: Recognizes geometric shapes

Age: 30-33 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 30-33 Months.

Stacks rings (or other objects in the correct order)

Situations for Observation of Skill

During playtime have a variety of shape blocks, measuring cups (without long handles) or stacking cups, and a shape puzzle, trucks, small people and farm animals in a bag or two.

Elicitation Strategy

Play a guessing game with the toys. Ask the child to reach into the bag and hold an object and guess what it is before taking it out of the bag. After a few objects dump out the rest of the toys and suggest building a farm. Start to place the animals together. Say, “I think we need a place to store food and water for the animals. Let’s make a silo or tower using the measuring cups turned upside down.” Place a block or animal on each puzzle piece and ask the child to put the food or animal in his room in the barn (upside down puzzle).

Behavior Observed

The child stacks the cups in order to make a tower.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Encourage early childhood educators and parents to combine toys in unusual ways (puzzles and blocks). Children will find creative ways to use them together. Children also enjoy haptic games (identify objects by touch). The advantage of these games is that children combine their tactile input with mental imagery of the objects, thus increasing children’s ability to combine different senses to make meaning.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit