Simple DIY colour sorting and fine motor activity

Feb 22, 2014

As a way for my son to learn to identify colours, practice sorting and further develop his fine motor skills, I made up this quick and easy DIY colour sorting game using a recycled ice-cream container. If you don't have one, you'll have to eat some ice-cream. All in the name of parenting of course.

Age6 months- 2 years +
(N was approx 18 months here. See bottom for tips to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

To make your own simple colour sorting and fine motor skill activity you will need the following materials

  • Recycled ice cream container with lid
  • Coloured paper (or paint) to cover the lid
  • Glue to stick the paper on
  • Craft sticks (buy already coloured or colour yourself)

How to:
  • Cover your ice-cream container lid with some plain paper or  paint it white
  • Stick 4 coloured circles of paper on the lid (I used cupcake liners to make it super quick and easy.. no cutting!)
  • Carefully, using the end of scissors or a stanley knife, cut a slit in the middle of each coloured circle that will fit a craft stick through it.
  • Present to your child with a pile of corresponding coloured craft sticks and let the posting and sorting begin.

Your child is learning:
  • Fine motor skills
  • Hand and eye coordination
  • Colours. (colors) Talk about the different colours of the craft sticks and on the lid
  • Emotions. Excitement, anticipation and enjoyment.
  • Language from the interactions you have together and talking about what the child is experiencing
  • Congnitive Skills. What are the holes in the lid for? What are we supposed to do with the craft sticks? etc.
  • Object Permanence. When we push the sticks all the way into the container they disappear! Take the lid off and we can see that they are still there even though we can't see it.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by having the focus be more on improving fine motor skills than about learning colours. Introduce the idea of sorting and distinguishing between colours with just 2 different colours and then extend from there.

- Extend this activity for older children by encouraging children to also count as they sort. How many blue sticks? Which colour has the most sticks? Build in some simple math by providing 10 sticks of each colour and then talk about subtraction and how many sticks are left after posting certain amounts of them inside the container.

- Mix it up by changing the shape of the holes in the lid to fit various other materials (ie. Blocks, pompoms etc)

- Repeat this activity as often as you like because all children need repetition to consolidate their learning and understanding. They will gain new insights each time they repeat the same activity.

- Talk to your child about what they are doing. This will help them begin to understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as helping develop their vocabulary. "Where does the yellow stick go?" "Where have all the sticks gone?" etc.

- Supervise. Small children need constant supervision.

Here's another great post full of Fine-Motor fun!
Click the picture to see the activities

Here's a post full of activities to learn Colours!
Click the picture to see the activities

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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