2D Shapes Topic Guide

The D in 2D stands for “dimensions”; these shapes only have 2, so they are flat.

2D shapes are categorised by their sides and angles. The sides can be curved, such as in a circle or semi-circle, or straight. A polygon is a 2D shape with at least three straight sides.

Teach your children about 2D Shapes using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Try this investigative activity from NRICH to explore lines and angles in shapes.
  • Challenge your class to create tessellating patterns with this interactive activity.
  • Organise a shape hunt. Go around the building, taking photographs of different shapes. Label the different shapes you found.
  • Use our Name the Shape Sheet as an assessment tool, at the beginning and the end of your shape topic.
  • Using masking tape, or chalk, create shapes on the floor or outside. Challenge the children to run to the shape as you describe its properties.
  • Use tape to create shapes on desks, then ask the children to measure the angles.
  • Ask children to sort plastic shapes according to their properties.
  • Play “Phone the Shape Shop”. The adult pretends to be a customer, who is phoning the shape shop, but they have forgotten the name of the shape they want! A child is a person who works in the shape shop. The adult describes the properties of the shape they want and the child (with help from the class) has to work out which shape it is.
  • Using plastic shapes, hide most of a shape and just show the children a small part. Discuss what shapes it could be, then show a little more. Can you eliminate any shapes?


  • Download our Shapes Pack for plenty of resources and activities.

The Shapes Pack

2D Shapes Facts

  • The sides of 2D shapes are made from straight and curved lines.
  • Where two lines meet, a vertex is formed (a corner).
  • A circle has one curved side. All of the points on the edge of the circle are at the same distance from the centre.
  • A quadrilateral has four sides.
  • A regular 2D shape has sides that are all the same length, and all of the interior angles are the same.


2D Shapes Song

2D shapes are flat shapes. You might see them around you. Can you see a circle or square?

Running time: 2:49

2D SHAPES FOR KIDS. Properties of 2D shapes explained

This video is a great overview for younger children, with some quiz questions for children to answer.

Running time: 7:35

Names of 2D Shapes

This video goes through the names of 2D shapes with clear examples.

Running time: 2:49


Shapes, Shapes, Shapes

This beautiful book of high-quality photographs challenges children to find the shapes in everyday objects and scenes.

Shaping Up Summer

Discover the shapes of the natural world in this picture book.

The Perfect Fit

A triangle tries to find her place in the world.

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