Shape Detective

Pretend to be detectives and figure out the case of the mystery shape.

  • Target Age:  2-5
  • Learning Goals: Cognitive Reasoning, Math, Imagination
  • Related EpisodeEpisode 4279: What’s in Big Bird’s Nest?



  • Notebook
  • Crayon


  1. Think of two objects in your home that are clearly visible and are the same shape. Don’t tell your child what they are.
  2. Pretend with your child that she is a detective, and she is going to need to focus and look closely to help solve a shape mystery. She can even use her hands as pretend binoculars to help her stay focused.
  3. Give your child clues about what it is she should be looking closely to find. Be sure to include information about the shape of the object such as, “It has four sides that are all the same size,” or “It has three sides and three angles.”
  4. Once she has guessed the object, have her draw it in her detective notebook.
  5. Follow the same steps for the second object.
  6. Encourage her to focus and look closely at the two pictures and then reveal that the objects are clues to figure out the mystery shape. See if she can guess the shape.
  7. Play the game again with another shape and take turns giving clues and being the detective.

Talk About It

Talk together about what each mystery shape looks like and then search for more objects around your home that are the same shape. Which shape can you spot the most?

Take it Further

Go on a shape hunt around your neighborhood. This time, pick a shape ahead of time together and play “I Spy” to describe objects that are the same shape. Say, “I spy something that is round, is on the bottom of a car, and helps it move,” or “I spy something with two long sides and two short sides that opens and closes.” Take turns giving the clues and guessing.


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!