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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  1. says

    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. says

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

  2. says

    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. says

      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.

  3. Linda says

    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. says

      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.

  4. says

    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. says

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

  5. says

    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. says

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

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      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.

  6. says

    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.

  7. says

    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! :)

  8. says

    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!