Preschool & Toddler Color Exercise

Inspired by the myriad of amazing parenting blogs that exist in cyber space, I picked up a bunch of paint color samples from our local hardware store. I just knew that at some point I could use these samples to make color tablets a la Montessori or create some other fun color sorting, matching exercise for my toddler. Wouldn’t you know it, that day finally came!

This image shows two types of activities I created. Honestly my 27 month old, like many 27 month old children, knows his basic colors very well. So the activity is more about matching, sorting and development of fine motor and problem solving skills.

This image shows how simple it is to create these activities. You don’t need much. The color sample shown above was used for the clothespin exercise. I grabbed a sample with an adhesive back.  This helped with wrapping a piece of color around the tip of the clothespin.

Here is a list of what you might consider grabbing for this exercise:

  • Clothespins (Amazon)
  • Color Samples with Adhesive Backs (local hardware store)
  • Color Tone Sample Cards (local hardware store)
  • Colored Popsicle Sticks (I recommend the jumbo popsicle sticks from Amazon)
  • Mini Magnets (Amazon)
  • Scissors (Already Owned)
  • Cookie Sheet if you’d rather instead of using your fridge or dishwasher (Already Owned)

Mini magnets with adhesive backs are great for so many reasons. In this case, I attached magnet to the back of the popsicle sticks and used them as a way for my son to match a color tone sample card with the same color popsicle stick. This approach worked well although he did just enjoy putting the popsicle sticks on the cookie sheet and dishwasher.  For a fun math and advanced color concept I also provided him with “+” and “=” signs that were included in our original Melissa & Doug Magnetic Numbers. So I showed him once that “Blue” “+” “Red” “=” “Purple” and then he took it from there. Here is an example (like the scratches on our dishwasher?)…

So, for the clothespin exercise, I cut the same sized square (roughly) for each color sample for the square to pin. Then, I cut a strip of the color sample, took the back off and wrapped it around the tip of the clothespin.

To set up the activity, I described each piece of the activity and then showed him an example of taking the “green” clothespin and finding the “green” square and “pinning” it to match. Honestly, with the exception of the fine motor skill development piece with the colthespin, this exercise was very simple for him so I made it a bit more challenging to him by presenting him with the clothespins already attached to the colored squares.  The catch was that they were attached to the wrong colored squares so he had to identify the inconsistency and then take the exercise from there.

This image is not the best. I took it with my phone but you get the idea. We used our dishwasher but you can use a cookie sheet or some other creative magnetic device.


Have fun and thanks for visiting!

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Classified: Mom

Montessori Monday



Founder, Publisher, Writer & Editor at Carrots Are Orange, Inc.
Marnie began Carrots Are Orange in 2010 after the birth of her first son. Carrots Are Orange is a Montessori inspired learning and living blog for parents and educators. She hails from Maine, a wonderfully down to earth place to grow up. Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999, currently living east of Seattle with her husband and three young boys. She is pursuing Montessori certification. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, PBS Kids, BabyCenter, the Melissa & Doug blog, and


  1. says

    I love seeing handmade activities for kids! My 22 month old would like something like this but I have never seen paint samples in Japan {pretty much everywhere is wallpapered and the samples are just paper} but I could do it with something similar. I have the jumbo craft sticks!

    Also what toddler doesn`t love magnets? Lovely post!

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