Abstract The current work examined age differences in the classification of novel object images that vary in continuous dimensions of structural shape. The structural dimensions employed are two that share a privileged status in the visual analysis and representation of objects: the shape of discrete prominent parts and the attachment positions of those parts. Experiment 1 involved a triad classification task in which participants at each of three different ages (5 years, 8 years, and adult) classified object images from two distinct stimulus sets. Across both sets, the youngest children demonstrated a systematic bias toward the shape of discrete parts during their judgments. With increasing age, participants increasingly came to select both the shape and the position of parts when classifying the images. The findings from Experiment 2 indicate that the local shape bias observed in young children’s classifications is not merely a consequence of a discrimination advantage for that dimension. Results are discussed in relation to corresponding age-related changes in other functional contexts of visual processing.