Category Archives: Colors

Flower Mobile (or possibly placemat)

J made a flower mobile for his grandma as a get well soon gift.  It would be a great gift for any girl on any occasion really. I think it turned out really cute and J had a lot of fun creating it.  He stuck with it until it was all finished!

What you need:  Construction paper, contact paper, scissors, flower magazine, marker; you will also need a  hangar, a hole punch, and string if you want to create the mobile

Prep Work:  I cut out the borders for each flower, using different colored construction paper.  I also cut out two equal sizes of clear contact paper, taping one to the work-table (sticky side up).  The other piece of contact paper is saved to place on top after the flowers are completed.

During the activity:  J placed the flower-borders onto the contact paper though he needed some help with the larger pieces since they can get tangled easily.  He then searched through a flower magazine to find flowers to fill each border, matching the colors accordingly.  I just had him tear the pictures out of the magazine rather than using scissors.  We then worked together to tear the pictures into small pieces that he could stick inside the corresponding colored flower.  After all of the flowers were filled, we added a message for grandma and J signed one of the flowers himself.  I then placed the second sheet of contact paper on top.  If we were creating a placemat, the activity would basically be done. Just trim the edges of the contact paper to make a more finished look.  (My intention was to create a placemat, but I did not plan well.  The flowers were so huge that the placemat covered half the table! So I improvised and decided this was going to become a mobile instead.)

For the mobile:  I cut apart each flower and punched a hole into the top and bottom.  I also cut small pieces of string to attach the flowers together.  J helped thread the string through the holes and I tied the knots.  We then tied it onto a hangar. 

Age attempted: 3 years

Mix and Match Patterns with Plastic Eggs

Here’s an activity where I’m guessing you won’t have to spend one dime, just use what you already have!  Plastic eggs, crayons, and paper.  This was a great activity I found online that I prepared and stored away for after the baby was born.  I first gathered the plastic eggs from the basement so that I knew which colors I had to work with.  I then colored some mix and match eggs on cardstock. 

I gave J both the cards and the plastic eggs and told him his job was to create eggs to match the cards. 

This activity offered practice with color recognition, size recognition and fine motor skills.

For younger toddlers/preschoolers:  They might need help clicking the egg pieces together, but they can find the correct colors themselves.  Some might not yet be able to recognize the size difference in the top/bottom of the egg.

For older toddlers/preschoolers:  They can practice placing the eggs together themselves.  To add a level of difficulty, be sure to make it clear in your drawing which part of the egg is on top and which is on bottom.  This way they not only have to match the correct colors but also the correct part of the egg. 

Age attempted: 3 years

Dot Marker Phonetics

I had the dot markers out this week.  I remember thinking these markers were so expensive and wondering if they were worth it.  Well, in our house they’ve gotten lots of play time and J still loves them.  They were some of the first markers that I let him use actually (see J’s autumn tree here).   

I made up this quick color sheet for J to use with the markers.  He had to match the sound of each letter (or object) to it’s corresponding color.  So he painted a green guitar, a purple panda, etc.  I had him match the sounds and make a guess first, then he could check his answer by looking at the color names written on the marker to see if he was correct.  He actually really enjoyed this activity and thought he was basically just coloring.  He had no clue he was learning too :) 

Here’s the before (the pictures are just clip art):

Here’s the after:

 Age attempted: 34 months

 

Toddler’s First Chart

This is another of my beloved sticker activities (gotta love cheap, easy and educational!).  J did this on one of our plane trips and it worked beautifully. 

Sorry the picture isn't very clear; I was using my iphone on a dark plane

Prep: I created a box chart for J to fill in with the number of columns corresponding to the number of colors I had on a sticker sheet.   Since he was charting colors and this was the first time he had ever charted anything, I outlined each box in the correct color.  Honestly I think I made it too easy for him with this.  I just didn’t want to be stuck on the plane with him getting frustrated by an activity that was too difficult.  Sadly I underestimated him!

I gave J the long sheet of smiley face stickers of all different colors and he was throughly focused on charting them.  The sticker sheet had different shades of each color, so it was also good practice combining the various shades of purple/green.  After he was finished, I had him point out the longest line and the shortest line and explained how this helped us gather information about the stickers (which had the most and the least).  We then counted and labeled each bar to see if our deductions were correct.  Of course, he didn’t understand it all completely.  That’s ok.  To me, it’s a matter of introducing words and concepts that we’ll build on as he gets older. 

Look through your sticker collection to see what you can chart!

Age Attempted: 32 months

Color Mixing with Ice

When I was pulling up the old activities using ice, I realized that I never posted this last summer (I took a LONG break back then!).  These photos are from this past summer.   This is a great outdoor activity but a few simple adaptations can  easily bring this activity inside during the winter months and actually works well with a winter theme. 

(I honestly just copied this post from the one I wrote for our private family blog last summer.  I made very few adjustments – in italics – which is why it sounds like I’m writing from the perspective of summer…. I was!)

J’s homemade water “table” is still one of his favorite activities of the summer.  A few days ago we made yellow and blue ice cubes together.  This is an activity all in itself and a great way to teach the process of freezing. Let them fill the tray using a scooper or a medicine dropper to include some fine motor skill practice!  He’s been patiently waiting to play with them since. 

He first separated the ice cubes into bowls by color and chose to make blue water first.  I filled the tray with a small amount of water (just make sure the tray is white/clear so you can easily see the water change colors as the ice melts). He really enjoys scooping and stirring the ice cubes, letting them melt in his hands,… **Use this step to utilize motor skill practice with tongs or different size (and length) scoopers or spoons.**  I’m surprised at how long a little ice can entertain!  When he moved onto the yellow ice cubes I asked him which color the water (currently blue) would become and he of course guessed yellow.  I told him it was going to be a surprise that he’d have to wait and see.  He wasn’t convinced the water was actually green until the very end when there was no denying it.  He was sure it should be either blue or yellow! 

(Sorry, I kinda cut off his face!)


We then filled the ice cube trays with green water to play with in the future.  This activity is free, entertains a good while and recycles itself too!

Stringing Buttons

Iphone photo from plane trip

This is an activity J has done both at home and on airplanes.  I found a big bag of colorful buttons, in different sizes.  Set out some string and he was focused threading them for 30 minutes at least.  This is a good fine motor skill activity.  J is a very organized little boy so he typically wants to sort the buttons by color, matching each with the corresponding color string…. which meant mom had to track down string to match each button :) 

We’ve also tried stringing the buttons by size but this hasn’t been J’s favorite activity.  He’d much rather sort colors.  It’s still a great practice activity to try.  I’ll bring it out again after awhile.  If you do plan on sorting by size, I would start with a just a few buttons and as your little one excels increase the number of buttons to sort and/or decrease the difference in sizes. 

Traveling:  We started using this activity on planes when J was old enough to keep track of the buttons.  We keep them in a ziploc and he takes out one at a time.  I only bring the larger buttons with us and he strings them on  pipe cleaners instead of string.  I like multiple uses for travel toys and pipe cleaners offer lots of other uses.

Lesson learned: Using pipe cleaners to thread is much easier than using string.  This makes activities like this (or stringing beads, stringing sponges ) possible for younger ones. You can bend down the sharp ends of the pipe cleaners.

Age attempted: 27 months

Homemade Toy: Magnetic Pompoms

When I was writing the Apple Picking post, I realized I never actually introduced our magnetic pompoms.  This has been a great homemade toy for J.  I saw it multiple places online when J was much younger and just waited until I was confident he would be safe with the small magnets.  We’ve never had one fall off, but you never know. I wouldn’t leave little ones alone with this toy until you were 100% confident they wouldn’t try a taste test.

This is a great addition to a busy box gift for older toddlers/preschoolers.  Include the pompoms, a small cookie sheet (found at dollar stores) and some blank templates and/or patterns to follow.  A great and unique toy on a budget. It would even be a good homemade Christmas gift.

To Make: All you do is hot glue magnets onto the back of pompom balls.  Use the free magnets you get in the mail to save money or buy roll of magnets from the craft store.  You won’t need an entire roll, so it can be used for other things as well.  Be sure to include a variety of color pompoms and a large number of each color.  The more you have, the more your little one can create.  You can also use multiple sizes of pompoms if you want (I’ve only made one size).  Add a cookie sheet and you have a great toy.   Something about pompoms intrigues kids.

1. They can design pictures freely. 

No my toddler did not create this picture :)  This is one I made for him as he called out things to create.  I forgot to snap pictures of his creations, though he makes a pretty good sun!

This homemade toy can be as simple as this and it will be worth the effort.

2. Black and white templates can be printed for them to fill in creatively.

I made this blank pompom template  for J to use.  You can also check out the links at the bottom of this post for sites I’ve found with printables.

3. Color printouts encourage them to match the correct colors.

 Here he is matching the pompoms to the corresponding colored circle in the gumball machine.  This type of activity is especially good for younger toddlers that are still working on their colors and fine motor skills.

It’s really easy to create your own, just copy and paste from Google images and add some colorful circles.

4. Patterns, sorting, counting, and colors

  I started the patterns and he found the right pompoms to continue it.  You could also show them a picture of a pattern and ask them to copy it on their own.  Preschoolers could work on much more intricate patterns or designs.

This shows some color sorting as well as our intro to bar graphs where he compared the different bars to decide which had the most/the least, which were equal,…  We finished by counting each bar to see we were right.

6. Shapes, Location

 As of now we create them together, he copies my examples (or tries to),  or he gives me instructions on what to create and where (good directional practice for them).

For older ones you can give them instructions to create a certain color/size shape, include location of the shape to increase the difficulty (ex: make a purple triangle inside the circle).

6. Letters and Numbers  

Have your little one trace letters and numbers or “write” them on their own using the pompoms.  You can draw large block letters or numbers for them to fill in with the pompoms.  They can match the correct number of pompoms next to the correct number.  Or check out the list of online templates I found. 

I’ve seen activity books for Dot Markers that would work well with magnetic pompoms.  Of course any of the templates for magnetic pompoms could also be used with Dot Markers or circles stickers too.

Other Printable Templates: 

Shapes  and Colors (from Home Grown Hearts)

Number cards (from 1+1+1=1)

Numbers (from Making Learning Fun)

Upper Case Letters and Lower Case letters (from Making Learning Fun)

B&W Pictures (From Making Learning Fun)

Color Pictures (From Making Learning Fun)

(For the Making Learning Fun templates, I had to copy the templates and paste it onto ppt to expand each picture.  When I printed these straight from the website, the circles were much smaller than I wanted.)

If you find any other great templates let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

Sticker Activity on the Plane (or at home!)

He asked me to draw more smiley faces on the paper afterwards.

In my post  about our last plane trip, I mentioned a sticker activity that J did on the plane.  It worked perfectly for the trip so I thought I would share.

I had some smiley face stickers in various colors that J has for whatever reason fallen in love with.  On a sheet of paper I made 5 large circles using the colors of the stickers I had (purple, red, green, yellow and pink).  I gave J the sheet of stickers along with the paper with empty circles and he placed the stickers inside it’s circle match.  We then counted the number of stickers inside each circle, which in our case was different for each circle. 

This offered practice matching colors, some fine motor practice (peeling the stickers off and placing them in the correct spot on the paper), and then with counting too.  It wasn’t too hard for J, which is ideal for plane activities.  I like the activities we do to keep him busy, involve my help at times, but also something he could do on his own.  Because there was a set goal to be accomplished, it kept him busy until all stickers were transfered.  As he’s getting older, TIP: I like our plane activities to have specific goals to encourage him to stay with it longer than he might if left on his own since my offical goal is to keep him occupied and content for the duration of the flight.  If he wants to do more stickers afterwards that’s fine, but I know he will at least remain occupied until the end of the activity. Of course this activity doesn’t have to be done on a plane. 

You could do the same type of activity while practicing shapes and number recognition too (in fact, there’s a number activity coming up in a future post).

Age: 25 months

20 Month Old Busy Box

I put together these activities for a friend’s little girl.  While mommy is serving in Iraq, I thought this busy box might help to keep her little one busy and hopefully even allow her dad some much needed time off from entertaining.  Most of the activities are homemade, repurposing items from around the house as is my norm. I housed them in a simple decorative box.  J’s own “busy box”  is kept in a closet and the activities are only brought out at certain times throughout the week.  This helps keep it’s novelty.  Some of the activities are repeats from the 1 year old Busy Box I made my niece awhile back, though I tried to make them a bit more difficult for the older age.  You’ll also notice that these activities are mostly ones I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  When I make a busy box, I try to pick the most successful activities from J’s experience, many of these are motor skill activities.  Some of these activities are things Ella can enjoy now and some she will grow into in the next few months.

You’ll have to excuse my poor decorating abilities.  That is certainly not my forte.  Most of the original toys that I made for J aren’t decorated at all.  J never seemed to mind, so hopefully little Ella will look past the covers and still enjoy the meat of the activities!

1.  Pushing Puff Balls – this is a fine motor activity and has always kept J entertained; see this post for more info

2. Color Sorting Pipe Cleaners – again a fine motor activity and I added practice with colors; this is probably the favorite homemade toy for J; see this post and this post for more info

3.  Color Wheel – practice with colors and fine motor skills; you can use the wheel in other ways too. See this post and this post fore more.

4. Puzzles -These foam puzzles were one of the best buys for J. They were just $1 at our local grocery store and I picked them up on the fly one time.  When I saw them there months later, I bought a few more as gifts. I bring the color puzzle on plane trips sometimes since there are few pieces and it’s very light. 

5. Family Bag – this is similar to J’s family magnet pics.  I added each family member’s name to Ella’s pics, laminated them (with contact paper) and gave her a little purse to carry them in.  J has loved his family pics since before he was one.  I thought adding the names could encourage name recognition.

6. Seed Family Worship CD – I had previously sent one of their CDs to my friend while she’s in Iraq, but thought her daughter might like one too.  These cd’s are really great and not just for kids IMO.  They are an excellent way to help us write God’s Word on our hearts.  See this post for more.

7. Fish Counting and Matching file folder game – J has a similar matching game, I just made this one a bit more durable by adding it to a file folder for safe keeping.  The envelope holds the laminated fish cards to match as well as the fish to place on the counting page.  I found the counting template here from Tot school and have used it many times with J.

8. Sponge Jewelry – a fine motor activity and again a favorite of J’s, simply thread the sponges onto the pipe cleaners.  I found a greater variety of sponges for Ella’s jewelry.  A girl needs to match!  See this post for more info.

Cars and Color Wheels

I came across this addition to the color wheel and knew it was perfect for J.  He loves cars and loves lining things up.  Perfect.   Well, the first attempt went just ok.  He matched one car to each color on the wheel and didn’t get what to do after that.  I tried showing him to line up the cars behind each color, but he wasn’t satisfied with that.  He wanted the car ON the appropriate space in the color wheel and since he couldn’t fit them all on the wheel, he contented himself with filling the wheel and was done.  Of course this still accomplishes the goal of matching colors.  It wasn’t until the second time I brought this activity out that he enjoyed lining the cars up.  It was good practice matching similar colors and did need some help with a few.

Age attempted: 1st – 24 months; 2nd- 25 months