Simple Color Sorting Game for Toddlers and Preschoolers

A simple color sorting game for toddlers and preschoolers. I love the minimal set-up that is required. You can do this with all sorts of small toys!

sorting foam blocks by color

One of my top strategies for staying sane this winter has been to have a simple activity planned for the kids to do as soon as they wake up. It keeps them from moving into “it’s cold and grey and I feel like whining” mode, and keeps them busy while I make breakfast!

Simple Color Sorting Game for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This simple sorting game was an instant hit with all three. I put a bunch of foam blocks in a cup for each child, set out four IKEA bowls in corresponding colors, and told them to sort by color.

Emma corrects Lily's sorting

Johnny was appalled by Lily’s disregard for sorting by color, so Emma fixed it. Then when they were done Lily took all four bowls and threw them across the kitchen floor…

Cost-benefit analysis:

  • Prep: 2 minutes
  • Initial entertainment: 5 or 6 minutes
  • Clean-up: 3 minutes BUT the kids did it (turned into a game)
  • Lasting value: kept the kids in a good mood for breakfast and then they went off to play a game of their own making for the next 45 minutes

More Color Sorting Activities for toddlers and Preschoolers

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

19 thoughts on “Simple Color Sorting Game for Toddlers and Preschoolers”

  1. Awww, poor guy. My kids probably would have been obstinate and joined Lily’s sorting style. Of course one would have been mad at that, and threatened to start throwing stuff…..

  2. I like you idea to introduce an activity like this as they wait for breakfast. We had way too much whining going on at my house today! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Oh poor Johnny! He does look glum. Thankfully his big sister knew how to dissipate the storm clouds! :)

    Did I tell you we bought a set of those counting bears Johnny has? All three kids love them!!

  4. I love those IKEA bowls. We have two full sets of the bowls, cups, plates and utensils. As for the sorting game, I do this sometimes with laundry. I’ll take out all the socks and have my girls match them. Makes laundry day longer, but keeps everyone entertained.

  5. Johnny’s expression is so funny, and Lily looks like Jesse when he wakes up with that crazy hair and sleepy face–LOVE it! All three look adorable in their pj’s. Pj’s are my favorite as I’m sure you’ve noticed from my blog pics, we do get dressed sometimes though:-).

    This is a very fun idea. I’m going to use it with Jack. Where did you get those small foam blocks.

    OK, one more thing, so does Lily not put every.single.thing in her mouth? Jesse does, I mean everything! Hanna did this too. He would never sit there like Lily is doing and does in your pictures. One day he will, but he’s a wild man Mary Anne:-)!

  6. Love your idea of having something for them to do before they get up – I have troubles getting Henry out of his mode/mood if he just plops in front of the TV first thing in the morning… activities are a great way to start the day!! YAY!

  7. That sounds like fun, I wonder if I use our wooden beads if we can skip the last step with the throwing? :-P I bet Emma and Johnny were glad that Lily waited until the end? And I don’t have any colored bowls… Maybe I’ll have to use dowels. Or just construction paper. That sounds less complicated.

  8. I just love Johnny’s expression. I’m sure that boy has to put up with a lot! ;) I love your tip of putting out something interesting to start the day off with a smile. Thanks for linking with the Play Academy.

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