I’m excited to show you two different ways we have made and used color matching popsicles for learning how to read color names in Chinese and English! This is great for families who like low-prep, inexpensive, and educational activities!
Popsicle crafts inspired by my kids’ love of popsicles
We live in sunny California where the weather is warm and perfect for 棒冰 (bàngbīng / popsicles, ice pops) almost everyday of the year!
Typically, we make our own 棒冰 treats by freezing healthy green smoothies, and my daughter has fun choosing the ingredients for the smoothie.
Throughout the year, we also keep frozen Pedialyte popsicles in case the kids get sick and need extra hydration. Not sure if this is weird, but my kids love Pedialyte popsicles and even request it when they are healthy!
Therefore, my kids love 棒冰 crafts!
Color matching popsicles: fun for both boys and girls
We have made a few variations of educational popsicle crafts since my daughter was 3! Now my daughter is almost 5 and my son is almost 2, and they both enjoy imaginative play together with the popsicle crafts!
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Color matching popsicles: Recommended age
This popsicle activity is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are learning how to match and name colors!
In addition, color matching popsicles encourages fine motor skills and eye coordination.
Depending on your child’s developmental skills, the activity is suitable for ages 1-4 years.
Children develop different skills at different times, so this activity could be appropriate for one child at age 2 but another at age 3!
Color matching popsicles: What you need
- Stiff felt or foam sheets
- Craft sticks (plain or colored)
- Felt glue or hot glue gun
Soft felt is not recommended due to lack of durability.
Soft felt also catches easily on the craft sticks and can cause frustration, disinterest, and distraction from completing the activity.
Therefore, please consider using stiff felt.
I have heard that this activity is often available at the Target Dollar Spot!
Our Target does not have this popsicle activity so we just made it quickly. Plus, making crafts with children is a fun way to teach them practical life skills and learning about tracing, measurement, cutting, and gluing!
How to make color matching popsicles:
- Write color names on craft sticks. Since my children are learning Korean and Chinese as their minority languages, we wrote these on opposite sides of the craft stick. I recommend writing the words in black ink rather than colorful ink so the words are clear and legible.
- Draw 棒冰 (popsicle) shape onto cardboard. This will be the popsicle template.
- Trace the cardboard on different colors of felt
- Cut felt into 棒冰 shape
- Glue edges of 棒冰 shape leaving the bottom edge open
Idea 1: Color matching popsicles fine motor activity
The popsicle pieces are separated so it’s like an unfinished puzzle for the child to complete.
We put it in a tray as an option on our Montessori-inspired shelf so the kids can choose it independently and to keep it organized from other play and learning materials.
We colored hole reinforcers and glued them to the craft sticks with Modge Podge sealer, but this step is not required. We just used what we had on hand at home.
For example, you can cut extra felt cloth and glue it to the stick for color and texture (such as this one). Or you can simply paint your craft stick or buy a pre-colored version.
For kids who are just learning colors for the first time, you may want to show them only up to 3 colors at a time. Introduce the colors and their names with the 3-period lesson as explained by a Montessori training blog here.
When they have mastered those colors, then add more colors to complete the rainbow!
In these photos, you will see dark and light blue introduced, but I recommend teaching this after they have understood the general concept of blue.
Older toddlers can learn how to read the names of the Chinese colors with the Montessori 3-period lesson as well.
We wrote the Chinese and Korean words high on the stick. Thus, when the popsicle and stick are put together, the words are hidden under the felt.
However you can write it further down on the handle for more print exposure. See the next set of popsicles at the end of this post for example.
Idea 2: Color matching popsicles with sprinkles!
For these popsicles, my daughter used cotton balls instead of usual paintbrushes to paint the craft sticks!
Then I helped her label each craft stick with the corresponding color name.
Please note that these are the same popsicles that we used for our number matching popsicles – we just focused on colors for this side of the popsicle!
We also used glitter glue to add matching sparkly sprinkles!
My daughter had a blast using these popsicles for pretend play!
For more teaching in a playful way, feel each sprinkle with your child while practicing counting out loud and pretending to eat them!
You can also pretend to be shopping for popsicles with your child or going to a picnic.
Let your child lead with his or her imagination, and teaching can be integrated with their busy imagination! The below photo was taken when my daughter was 3 years old.
In the next photo, my daughter is 4.5 years old and has set up a pretend bilingual dessert shop for her little brother to shop!
I love seeing my children play happily in their minority languages!
Did your kids enjoy the color matching popsicles activity?
If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!
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Happy learning, friends!