Exploring color sticks in preschool

Exploring color sticks in preschool

I save the oddest things when I find them. Like these colorful Popsicle sticks. I bought them at the end of summer from Walmart and put them away in a basket for a rainy day and it has been raining here all week long….

When I purchased these, I intended to set them out on my light table – which I will do on another day – but I had so many of them that I decided that it would be fun to put them all out on the art table for the children just to explore…

The children found the sticks sitting on the table and dived right in. I noticed that the first thing they did was sort them all out by colors.  Each child wanted to have all of one single color to him or herself so together – they did a little color sorting…

After sorting out the colors, the children began to try other types of play. Some of the children just liked holding and feeling them…

Some children liked stacking them together or crisscrossing them to make designs…

Some of our children shared their patterns with me…


While others preferred constructing shapes like this ladder…

We had other shapes too…

And in the middle of all of this – I had one child make the great discovery that if you put a yellow and blue color stick together – it will make the color green!!

Super exciting play and lots of learning going on!

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  • jackie Posted October 19, 2011 7:41 pm

    Hmmmm… Freezies for the light table! I never would have thought of that!! I may have to take my box out of the freezer, and defrost them. lol Brilliant, Deborah! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:01 am

      Thank you Jackie:) I love all things with color and that you can see through:)

  • [email protected] Posted October 19, 2011 8:31 pm

    This is such a great idea! We always have tons of these around my house, and I’ve never thought about making an activity with them. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:01 am

      You are welcome Mandi!

  • Esther Posted October 19, 2011 8:55 pm

    Ingenious! I would have never thought of Popsicle sticks on light table! Simple is fun, But didn’t the kids want to eat them? My daughter would immediately ask me to freeze it:-(

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:02 am

      You know – they never even asked if they could eat them. I think perhaps because we are at preschool and they are used to me using things in unusual ways for play.

  • Linda Posted October 19, 2011 9:11 pm

    How did you keep the kids from trying to open them? We usually have these in the freezer during the summer for a treat. I have a box on the shelf and have had kids get them and proceed to open them. They don’t even ask me to freeze them!
    I would have never thought of this idea.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:03 am

      I don’t know why, but the children didn’t even try to open them. They just wanted to play. I think that they are a little difficult to open without scissors but really – they children never asked to open them. But you could explain to the children ahead of time what your plan is and tell them you will save some for eating later.

  • Natalie Posted October 19, 2011 9:26 pm

    I love this idea! What a fun way to explore science, simple math concepts like patterns and geometry, art and sensory experiences all at once!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:05 am

      i love simple ideas too Natalie that let you explore these kinds of concepts!

  • Jill Posted October 19, 2011 9:39 pm

    Seriously! what an AWESOME idea! love it! pretty sure i havea box of those in my freezer I think i better take them out to explore with!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:04 am

      Thanks for stopping by Jill:)

  • Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree Posted October 19, 2011 9:47 pm

    I’ve always loved these popsicle sticks before they are frozen! They are so squooshy and fun to look at! Love your ideas!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:04 am

      They are very squishy and you can bend them too!

  • Bethany Posted October 19, 2011 11:57 pm

    Yes! Another pin to my board! Thanks so much, Deborah.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:04 am

      Oops – I forgot to pin this to my own board! LOL!

  • andiejaye Posted October 20, 2011 3:15 am

    i’ve never seen this anywhere! brilliant! so amazing all the different things they did with them!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 3:20 am

      They were pretty excited so I just let them explore freely. We will try them again soon on the light table.

  • [email protected] Posted October 20, 2011 4:56 am

    I am definitely doing this at home! so simple and extra mileage from the sweet stuff.

  • Heidi Butkus Posted October 20, 2011 9:25 am

    Boy, those sure look like Otter Pops to me!
    Did anybody suck on them?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 9:55 pm

      No – I didn’t have any children suck on them 🙂 We use so many things like this in my classroom that the children understand that it is for play and not to eat. I talked to them first as well about not putting them in their mouth and they totally got it.

  • Terri Posted October 20, 2011 11:25 am

    What a great idea Deborah! We have a ton of these in the freezer, I may have to thaw some out and let the girls experiment a bit.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 9:53 pm

      Who would have thought we would now be thawing them out!

  • Karen @ PreKinders Posted October 20, 2011 6:37 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a perfect idea for the light table! I would never have thought it that.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 9:53 pm

      Thank you Karen – so happy you stopped by!

  • Karen Green Posted October 21, 2011 6:17 pm

    I love this idea and I am definitely going to give it a go. I love seeing the math and science embedded in such a simple activity! Simple but ingenious I might add! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 21, 2011 11:06 pm

      Thank you Karen:)

  • Michelle Levy Posted January 22, 2012 1:15 pm

    Very neat idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted January 22, 2012 2:18 pm

      Thank you Michelle!

  • Amanda Posted March 8, 2012 7:38 pm

    Nice idea. I love discovering super-cheap educational “gems”. For this project, I really appreciate the sensory aspect of it – squishy and floppy, perhaps warm or cold. Bonus: color theory. I’ll be trying this with my homeschooling group of 4 preschoolers. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted March 8, 2012 10:01 pm

      Wow – thanks for sharing the gems!

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