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Paper Clip Color Matching Tray

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I am always in awe how my sweet toddler can be playing so quietly and diligently for a few minutes and then with my attention diverted elsewhere, complete chaos ensues justlikethat.  One minute he's playing so nicely with his train set, the next he's chasing his older brother because he has a toy that he now wants....

Does this kind of chaos happen in your home, too?  Please tell me I'm not alone!

Now as school starts up shortly, I've got to be more intentional with his activities.  This Paper Clip Color Matching Tray is definitely a step up for him {paper clips are tricky little things for little hands!}, but as the older ones are working on something independently, this simple activity can be used to keep him at the table with me.... and away from his older brother ;  )  Or a way to get my toddler and preschooler working together and not against each other.

preschool fine motor color matching

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If you have littles at home while homeschooling older kiddos, here's another list of 10 Ways to Keep Them Busy to check out.  Hopefully some of these ideas will help you be more intentional, too.  The issue usually isn't having toys/ manipulatives.... you know, stuff for them to do... it's laying it out for them and training them to be content with the materials while your attention is elsewhere.  But that is another story for another day.

Color Matching Tray


Supplies:
Gather your cheap party tray to set up this lovely color matching activity that really works those fine motor skills.

Prep the activity by cutting two long paper towel tubes into three pieces.

Paint each piece a different color to match your supply of paper clips.  I used a set of washable paint colors, but because of the brown paper tube, and one layer of paint-- some of the paint colors weren't as vibrant.  Acrylic paint may be best, or invest in some white paper tubes.  

Color Matching Fine Motor Activity

Place the paper clips in the middle of the tray and the painted paper tubes in the compartments around the tray.  Doesn't it look so inviting?!

Encourage your toddler or preschooler to come and match the paper clips to the painted paper tube.

The rounded paper tube gives your child something more to grasp while concentrating on putting the paper clip onto the tube.  

Paper Clip Fine Motor Activity

With lots of determination, my 2.5 year old was able to put on paper clips, too.  Although I think his favorite part was taking off the paper clips.

Paper Clip Fine Motor Activity

This is a great activity to leave out on the shelves all week and pick up when there is interest, and also a great way to keep those little hands occupied while working with older kiddos.

And as I've mentioned, this color matching activity is great for fine motor skills.  Paper clips require hand-eye coordination, and lots of fine motor control and dexterity.

For a festive color matching tray around Christmas time {and also a way to work on patterns}, read about our Paper Clip Candy Canes Activity-- it's another great way to work with paper clips!

Paper Clip Fine Motor Activity

Here's a few more color matching activities with a fine motor twist to keep little hands busy!