Activity: Color sort for toddler and preschool

In a group of mixed age children, it is important to provide a variety of activities that hit multiple areas of development. This sorting activity combines several skills.

- fine motor (putting in, taking out, screw lid on, screw lid off,        open/close lid, using fingers to pick up an item)
- math (sorting like objects, one to one correspondence, counting, same/different)
- language (color words, meaning to text, writing, reading)
- social skills (taking turns, sharing, working together)

Materials needed:
- 1 plastic jar with a lid, a grated cheese container works great because it has a large side and a side with smaller holes (so it can be used for multiple purposes)
- Popsicle sticks, I used the bigger ones
- colored markers

Toddler working hard, focusing on getting sticks out and putting them back in.
My current group has toddlers and preschoolers. I chose to have the two categories be "color word" and "color sample." Meaning: I wrote the color word on one and colored on it's match. The color word is written in the color that is printed.

If I had a group of children who were working on a higher level of reading and writing, I probably would have put part of each word on a stick (BL and UE would be a match). That way it would be a word puzzle. 

This little guy loves putting things in rainbow order, so he matched words to colors AND put them in order. I encouraged him to write the words, but he wasn't interested at the time. Instead he turned it into a "guess what is missing" game. He lay out all of the colors, then took one away when I wasn't looking. I figured out all of the missing colors. I was very proud of myself. :-P

But seriously. I was proud of him changing up the intended use of the materials. THAT is exactly why young children need time to play. He, age 4, was able to access prior knowledge (a game that we've played with other objects and ROYGBIV) and turn it into a new activity. The objectives of the activity were still being practiced and he took what could be a solitary activity into a social learning experience. I LOVE IT!

An upside down close up, just for you.