If you are looking for a simple preschool color matching activity that will also work on fine motor skills, try out this activity using colored popsicle sticks and an old coffee can!
Here is what you’ll need for this super simple fine motor activity:
- Empty coffee can with plastic lid (or similar item slightly taller than popsicle sticks)
- Colored popsicle sticks (you can pick up a pack of 100 at the dollar store)
- Permanent markers in colors that match the popsicle sticks
- Sharp knife or scissors (keep away from children!)
Here is how you make it:
- Gather your colored popsicle sticks and then simply cut slits in the lid of an empty coffee can. The number of slits should correspond to the number of colors you have. The slits should be wide enough for the sticks to fit in, yet thin enough that they provide a bit of resistance so your kiddo will have to use his or her little finger muscles to push the sticks down into the can.
- Once your slits are just the right size, use permanent markers to color-code the outside of the slits according to the colors of popsicle sticks you have. If you only have neutral-colored popsicle/craft sticks, just color the ends of the sticks with your permanent markers so they can still be used for matching.
That’s it. Now it’s time to play!
You can show your preschooler how to match and push the colors but, to be honest, this activity is so straight forward that they will probably be able to figure it out on their own. If they do figure it out on their own (or with just a tiny bit of guidance), then that probably means this activity is a just-right challenge for them! If it appears the concept of matching colors goes over their head and they just don’t get it no matter how much you show them, then it probably means they aren’t quite ready for it and that’s okay! Stick with non-color coded slits for now, let your little one problem solve how to pinch and push the sticks into the can, and come back to the color-matching concept in a couple months.
I love this popsicle stick coffee can activity because, like many preschool activities, it challenges a variety of skills such as grasp patterns, hand-eye coordination, bilateral coordination (coordinating the use of both hands), working at and reaching across the middle of the body (which is good for these reasons), visual discrimination (finding the colors you want or need amidst visual distractions), color matching, and even concentration.
Once all the popsicle sticks have been pushed into the container, your kiddo can simply open, dump, and repeat!
In addition to promoting some great developmental skills, this activity is also a great one to use when you need to keep your little one occupied for a few minutes so you can work on something like preparing a meal, feeding a sibling, getting yourself dressed, or having a few minutes of downtime (because when does THAT ever happen, right?).
Remember, sometimes the best fine motor activities can be done using household items from your cupboards and kitchen drawers! For more kid-friendly fine motor activities you can do using household items, CLICK HERE.
I hope your little learner enjoys this activity as they practice matching colors and building their fine motor skills!