Exploring colorful cups in preschool

I am always looking for ways to invite the children just to explore colors. I have a set of brightly colored cups that I purchased this summer in the birthday party supplies at Target,┬áso I brought them in for the children to play with…

I set them out on the table and let the children just play with them as they liked…

Some chose to stack the cups up to make a single line tall tower…

Others chose to stack them together across the table…

I was actually surprised that the children preferred stacking the cups inside each other rather than trying to stack them on top of one another. In this photo, the children worked together to create the tallest tower they could…

I actually purchased these cups to use on my light table but as you can see, the children had better plans for them!


  1. says

    What fun colors! We have been using cleaned out empty play-doh containers to build lately. I have a feeling your cups would be way more fun :)

  2. says

    So funny that you posted this, because I just posted about a similar activity with my 4 year old. I had no idea that plastic cups could hold a preschooler’s attention for so long! I’m going to have to get some pretty cups like yours now. Love your blog!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Thank you Cara — Isn’t it wonderful how some of the most simple things can be so much fun for young children!

  3. says

    I do this too, but not with the colored cups. They really have to learn to work together on this activity. And they learn that failure(cups dropping) can be solved. Great confidence builder.

    Love your site.

  4. Colleen says

    where did you find the clear colored cups? I looked awhile back for some and couldn’t find “clear” colored cups.

  5. Cheryl says

    So did any color discussion take place?. . . You didn’t really say. . . I wondered if they would stack 2 together and observe a color change?. . . (Particularly if placed near a sunny window.) :)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      No, my original intention was to use these cups with the light table so we could discuss color but I realized that the children just needed to play with them this time. I will bring them out again later on and see if we can use them to talk about color a little more;) Great question!

  6. says

    A neat activity! My daughter loves stacking and I think she would love the colored cups. How fun! simple things can keep the kids engaged. Sometime back we had visited Tennessee children museum, They had built a gigantic sculpture using disposable cups and hot glue.

  7. says

    on a whim i gave my older twos a bunch of dixie type cups this summer to see what they would do. who knew they would become the best toy ever? i had to keep giving them more and more cups, they couldn’t get enough!!