Color Sorting Activity

Color sorting activity

This color sorting activity is a powerful fine motor activity and a super easy way to learn and play for toddlers and preschoolers.  We’ve done plenty of activities to work on fine motor skills in kids.  This straw activity is the type that is a huge hit in our house…it’s cheap, easy, and fun!  (a bonus for kids and mom!)  A handful of straws and a few recycled grated cheese container are all that are needed for tripod grasp, scissor skills, color naming, and sorting.  SO much learning is happening with color sorting activities. Read on…  

Fine Motor Color Sorting Activity with Straws

This color sorting activity is great for toddlers and preschools because it helps to develop many of the fine motor skills that they need for function.

I had Baby Girl (age 2 and a half) do this activity and she LOVED it.  Now, many toddlers are exploring textures of small objects with their mouths.  If you have a little one who puts things in their mouth during play, this may not be the activity for you.  That’s ok.  If it doesn’t work right now, put it away and pull it out in a few months. 

Color sorting activity with straws

Always keep a close eye on your little ones during fine motor play and use your judgment with activities that work best for your child.  Many school teachers read our blog and definitely, if there are rules about choking hazards in your classroom, don’t do this one with the 2 or 3 year olds. 

You can adjust this color sorting activity to use other materials besides straws, too. Try using whole straws, pipe cleaners, colored craft sticks, or other objects that are safe for larger groups of Toddlers.  

There are so many fun ways to play and learn with our Occupational Therapy Activities for Toddlers post.

Kids can work on scissor skills by cutting straws into small pieces.

  color sorting activity using straws

We started out with a handful of colored straws.  These are a dollar store purchase and we only used a few of the hundred or so in the pack…starting out cheap…this activity is going well so far!  

Cutting the straws is a neat way to explore the “open-shut” motion of the scissors to cut the straw pieces.  Baby Girl liked the effect of cutting straws.  Flying straw bits= hilarious!  

If you’re not up for chasing bits and pieces of straws around the room or would rather not dodge flying straw pieces as they are cut, do this in a bin or bag.  Much easier on the eyes 😉  

Kids love to work on fine motor skills through play!

 Once our straws were cut into little pieces and ready for playing, I pulled out a few recycled grated cheese containers.  (Recycled container= free…activity going well still!)   We started with just one container out on the table and Baby Girl dropped the straw pieces into the holes. 

Here are more ways to use recycled materials in occupational therapy activities.

Toddlers and preschoolers can work on their tripod grasp by using small pieces of straws and a recycled grated cheese container.

Importance of Color sorting for toddlers and preschoolers

Color sorting activities are a great way to help toddlers and preschoolers develop skills for reading, learning, and math.

Sorting activities develop visual perceptual skills as children use visual discrimination to notice differences between objects.

By repeating the task with multiple repetitions, kids develop skills in visual attention and visual memory. These visual processing skills are necessary for reading and math tasks.

The ability to recall differences in objects builds working memory too, ask kids remember where specific colors go or the place where they should sort them.

These sorting skills come into play in more advanced learning tasks as they classify objects, numbers, letters, etc.

And, when children sort items by color, they are building What a great fine motor task this was for little hands!  Sorting straws into a container with small holes, like our activity, requires a tripod grasp to insert the straws into the small holes of the grated cheese container.   

These grated cheese containers are awesome for fine motor play with small objects!

Sorting items like cut up straws helps preschoolers and toddlers develop skills such as:

  • Fine motor skills (needed for pencil grasp, scissor use, turning pages, etc.)
  • Hand strength (needed for endurance in coloring, cutting, etc.)
  • Visual discrimination (needed to determine differences in letters, shapes, and numbers)
  • Visual attention
  • Visual discrimination
  • Visual perceptual skills
  • Left Right discrimination (needed for handwriting, fine motor tasks)
  • Counting
  • Patterning
  • Classification skills

Preschoolers can get a lot of learning (colors, patterns, sorting, counting) from this activity too.  Have them count as they put the pieces in, do a pattern with the colored straws, sort from smallest to biggest pieces and put them in the container in order…the possibilities are endless!

Cut straw into small pieces and provide three recycled containers to sort and work on fine motor skills with kids.

Color Sorting Activity with Straws

Once she got a little tired of the activity, I let it sit out on the table for a while with two  more containers added.  I started dropping in colored straw pieces into the containers and sorted them by color. 

Use colored straws to sort and work on fine motor skills with recycled containers.

Baby Girl picked right up on that and got into the activity again.  This lasted for a long time.  We kept this out all day and she even wanted to invite her cousin over to play with us.  So we did!  This was a hit with the toddlers and Little Guy when he came home from preschool.  Easy, cheap, and fun.  I’ll take it!

Looking for more fun ways to work on color sorting?

You’ll find more activities to build hand strength, coordination, and dexterity in this resource on Fine Motor Skills.