Obsessed with color-matching right now? Try these activities

Child categorizing blue toys

Between 26 and 29 months, many children begin to match black and white objects together, and some can integrate primary colors as well. Dot stickers, crayons, paper straws, craft sticks, and pipe cleaners* all work well for early color matching. 

4 ways to practice color matching at age 2

  1. Gather three objects—two black, one white—that are identical aside from their color. Place them in front of your child and say, “Let’s find the two that are the same.” Ask your toddler why they chose the two they did. They may not be able to explain their thinking quite yet, but then again, they may surprise you 😉
  2. Gather two clear containers and place a white object in one and a similar black object in the other. Provide a small collection of objects in both black and white. Invite your child to drop each one in a container based on color: “Do you want to try? Which container do you think this goes into?”
  3. Repeat the previous activity with one white object and one object in a primary color, like red. Comparing two primary colors, like red against yellow, often comes a little later—typically between 29 and 33 months.
  4. If you have a checkerboard, ask your child to match the red and black pieces to the squares on the board. Give your child only a few pieces to start and add more as they go.
Boy using the Nesting Stacking Dripdrop Cups to categorize colors
In photo: Nesting Stacking Dripdrop Cups from The Inspector Play Kit

Color sorting activities for older toddlers

At around 33 months, children can often match three to five objects of the same color. 

Sort dot stickers by color

Gather some multicolored dot stickers and an egg carton. With marker or paint, draw colors in the carton that match the stickers and show your child how to start sorting the stickers by color. 

Create a found object color wheel

Gather objects from around your house in all the colors of the rainbow. Place one item of each color in a circular pattern on the floor. Ask your child to group the rest of the items by color, creating a beautiful rainbow pattern.  

Play a scoop-and-sort game

Add a couple inches of water to a shallow sensory bin. Add small floating objects, like plastic blocks or eggs, foam shapes, flowers, and leaves, in assorted colors. Give your child a slotted metal or wooden spoon and cups that are color coordinated with the items in the bin—colored silicone muffin cups or clear cups with markings signifying which color they go with work well. Show your child how to use the spoon to scoop up an object and place it into its corresponding cup.

Match the dots

The Drop & Match Dot Catcher is a great tool for practicing color matching and fine motor skills.

  • Let your child drop the dots into the board however they want to start.
  • Group the dots into color stacks and identify them: “These dots are all red.”
  • Create a column of all red dots (bottom to top) to match the red-ringed slots, and see if your child wants to create the next colored column next to yours.
  • Try making a row, going from left to right; count as you drop each dot, then ask your child to create the next row.
  • Working the release mechanism to let the dots drop out will likely be exciting for your child 
  • Once your child gets the hang of matching the dots with their corresponding slots, try sneaking a blue dot into their red stack. If they spot the error, ask your toddler whether it should go in a different slot. Let your toddler work through the thought process on their own before encouraging them to drop it into the blue slot. 

*Note: Be sure to fold over the ends of the pipe cleaners to prevent your child from getting poked by a metal wire.  


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Posted in: 25 - 27 Months, Colors, Sorting, Matching, Arts & Crafts, Playtime, Play & Activities, Child Development

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