This has to be one of my favorite DIY-ers so far. It was easy, free, and has kept the kids occupied for hours. I got the original idea from this website, but wanted to expand the activity to include a bit more of a challenge for Milo and Oliver. So…
We added a box.
The idea was to build a color-match station using paint chip samples and clothespins so that the kids could practice differentiating colors (especially subtle changes in hue between blues, greens, and reds) while also using the fine motor skills needed to clip the clothespins onto the side of the box. It was a fantastic success.
What you need:
- At least 10 (we used 15) clothespins
- The same number of paint chips (grab two of each color if you want to make them larger) varying in color and tone
- A large cardboard box
We picked up our paint chips at Home Depot– the Martha Stewart Collection (because I think her colors are super saturated and interesting). Also, her paint chips are large and just so happen to have guides on the back with which to cut the perfect strip off that will fit onto a clothespin! Who knew?
Step 1: Cut a strip off of each paint chip that is the exact width of your clothespin.
Step 2: Glue the strip onto the lower part of the clothespin (the part that pinches together, not the part you will grip with your fingers):
Step 3: Continue with each color until you have one clothespin for each paint chip.
Step 4: Glue the paint chips onto the top inner part of the box (I cut the flaps off the top so the clothespins would be able to fit easily over the edge):
That’s it! Now you are ready to play! It was surprising how little time this took.*
Milo and Oliver decided to take turns with the clothespins. One would start, take a clothespin, and find the match, then the next would try and so on until all the clothespins were taken.
I used some very bold colors, but also some that were very similar in hue, such as the red and the orangey-red color right next to it. They had to look closely to be able to distinguish the two, but they got it each time!
The above green colors were a little tricky for them at first since they are also so similar. But it was fascinating seeing them look, then look again more closely to make sure it was the right shade of green. They were super engaged during the entire game.
I also recommend using a box that is big enough for your toddler/preschooler to sit in. Oliver really enjoyed this, calling it his “color fort” and waiting while Milo brought him surprise colors. They actually begged me to keep playing over and over again before we headed out to the playground after dinner. Now you know an activity is good if it beats the playground!
*Yes, it took very little time to prepare this activity. Yet, while I was putting the finishing touches on the color match game, Milo and Oliver were putting the finishing touches on this: