Sorting by Color

Ways to teach children sorting by color using simple, low cost materials with quick prep.

Sorting by Color


Paint Sample Cards

These paint sample cards are the kind you can pick up for free at the hardware store. I get different hues of each color for the children to sort.

sorting paint sample cards

Beads and Pipe Cleaners

Children sort pony beads by stringing them onto different pipe cleaners. I used a jewelry wire tool to curl the ends of the pipe cleaners so that they wouldn’t poke or scratch anyone.

sort beads on pipe cleaners


These are gummy bears, but any kind of gummies could be used for this activity. I drew lines on a paper plate with a Sharpie to make sections for sorting.

sort gummy bears


These flowers came in a package in the wedding section of a craft store, and the clear plastic flower box also came from a craft store.

sorting flowers

Various Manipulatives

Lots of different kinds of math manipulatives can be used to sort by color. I place clear punch cups on each math tray for the children to sort each color into.

sorting manipulatives

Craft Punches

I use craft punches to cut out little paper shapes, and draw lines on paper (or print out sorting sheets) to make sections for the paper punches to be sorted into. Children glue the paper punches on the sorting sheet. These are perfect for saving for portfolios. Also, check out the blog post on Paper Punch Leaf Sorting.

Sorting Sheet 1 | Sorting Sheet 2

sorting paper punches

Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils

In our Art Center, we have markers, crayons, and colored pencils sorted into clear cups by color. Children learn how to sort the different hues, for example light blue and dark blue go together, pink and red go together, gray and black go together. We also do color mixing activities with paint to show children how these colors are related.

sorting pencils markers

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