We live in sunny California where the weather is warm and perfect for 棒冰 (bàngbīng / popsicles, ice pops) almost everyday of the year! I typically make my own 棒冰 treats by freezing healthy green smoothies, and my daughter has fun choosing the ingredients for the smoothie. We also keep frozen Pedialyte popsicles in the winter in case the kids get sick and need extra hydration. Therefore, my kids love 棒冰 crafts! We have made a few variations of educational popsicle crafts since my daughter was 3. Now daughter is almost 5 and my son is almost 2, and they both enjoy playing together with the popsicle crafts! In this post, I will share two different ways we have made and used color matching popsicles for learning how to read color names!
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What you need for color matching popsicles:
- Stiff felt or foam sheets
- Craft sticks (plain or colored)
- Felt glue or hot glue gun
Tip #1: 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.
Tip #2: I have heard that this activity is often available at the Target Dollar Spot! Our Target does not have this popsicle activity we just made it quickly. It was fun to make with my daughter!
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 the 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 with 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! She is pretending to color matching popsicles, birthday cupcakes (cupcake DIY instructions in this post), and Hangul alphabet cookies (available here)! I love seeing the kids play happily in their minority languages!
You are also welcome to share ideas and questions with our Facebook group, Montessori-Inspired Kids Learning Chinese and English!
You can also follow me on Facebook where I share my latest posts as well as favorite articles about children’s education, Chinese resources, and hands-on activities from other websites! In addition, on Instagram, I share activity highlights and how we integrate Chinese-learning in our regular daily life!
Happy learning, friends!