Jack-O-Lantern Shape Sorter

A lot of my ideas come from looking at a piece of “trash” and wondering…”what learning activity could we do with this?”

The same is true for this activity! This Jack-O-Lantern Shape Sorter is made from a formula can. We’ve been going through a lot of those lately–I had to stop nursing Little Brother at 7 months because I wasn’t producing enough and he was losing weight. So, formula it is…at least for another month!


Here’s what you’ll need:  wooden blocks of various shapes (like these), a container with a large lid, a piece of orange construction paper, and an orange Sharpie.

1. Use an orange Sharpie to color the top of the container. You could also paint it…just don’t use tempera paint, as it will flake off.


2. Cover the formula container with an orange piece of construction paper.


3. Lay the blocks on the lid to make the Jack-O-Lantern face.


4. Trace each block with a pen.


5. Use scissors or an Xacto knife to carefully poke a hole through the lid for each block shape. After you have penetrated the plastic, it should be easier to use regular scissors to cut the shapes out. The plastic lid we had did not leave sharp edges at all, but if yours does, I would recommend finding a different container/lid.


Let your little one have at it! I really thought Big Brother would think this was too easy and lose interest quickly, but he played for a solid 25-minutes with it!


Once Little Brother woke up, Big Brother wanted to show him how he was supposed to do it…


…Little Brother was more interested in grabbing his face than playing with the shape sorter.

Just FYI- If you use the Sharpie, a little orange will rub off your hands and your child’s hands as well. It is a tiny, minute amount


  1. Awesome idea! We have a LOT of formula cans around (sounds like for the same reason you do!) and I'm constantly looking for uses. My two favorite so far – the "lonely sock" keeper for our mismatched socks, and the "letter tub" for all the magnetic letters my children are collecting! My kids also love to tape pennies to one side and roll it across the floor, giggling when the cat tries to catch it.

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