Teach toddlers and preschoolers to recognize colors through playing this adorable shirt color matching game.They will also have a blast putting clothes into their very own washing machine that opens and closes. Free printable available in English, as well as bilingual English and Mandarin.
I’ve been working with little B (3.5 years old) to learn and recognize the words for different colors. He’s been practicing them at his Mother’s day out program and keeps asking what the different words say. Since we pretty much only speak mandarin to him at home, I also wanted to teach him how to recognize the Chinese characters on top of the English words as well.
As a result, I ended up creating a color matching activity with the names of colors in English and Mandarin. That way, he can learn to recognize the words of colors in both languages.
Color match mat printable is available in bilingual Mandarin and English as well as English only.
Little B really had a blast playing with the washing machine and matching the correct colored shirt onto the play mat!
What age can Toddlers Match Colors?
Kids can start recognizing colors as early as 18 months, the same time they start recognizing different shapes and sizes. So the earliest form of color recognition starts when a child is able to sort the blue truck with other blue toys.
Next, kids learn to recognize the words of colors. So if you say “give mommy the blue truck” they will find it and hand it over to you. Finally, kids learn how to verbalize the colors themselves. For example, they will respond with “blue!” when you point to the blue truck and ask “What color is this?”
Isn’t is just so amazing how kids develop and learn? If you have a young toddler, this activity can still benefit them. You will be amazed to see your kid progress to more and more advanced levels of playing within a few months!
Essential Skills that this activity teaches
I love this shirt color matching activity because it not only is LOADS of fun, but it also helps develop a variety of skills for your toddler:
- Language Skills: Hearing and speaking different words (i.e. shirt, names of colors, matching, etc)
- Motor Skills: Picking up the shirt and putting it into the washing matching or on the play mat, opening and closing washing machine, etc.
- Early Learning Skills: Learning to recognize and sort the different colors.
- Imagination Skills: Pretend play that certain shirts are “dirty” and need to be washed.
- Visual Skills: Finding the correct color they need to match.
Shirt Color Matching Activity Printable
To make your own DIY color matching activity, first head to the Mindy Makes Free Resource Library to download the printable, listed under the letter “C” as “Colored Shirt Matching Activity”. The printable comes with:
- 12 colored shirts (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Purple, Black, White, Brown, Pink, Gray)
- Washing Machine Printable
- 2 Color Match Mats
To get your own, simply subscribe to my email list, print out the Colored Shirt Matching Activity Printable in color on regular letter sized paper, and follow the tutorial below to learn how to make it!
After subscribing, you’ll get a welcome email with a password exclusively for my subscribers. If you don’t receive the email shortly after submitting your contact information, make sure to check your junk or spam folders and add my email as to your safe list!
To make this fun activity, you will need the following: (the list looks long, but you probably have most of these items in your house already!)
- Washing Machine Color Matching Activity Free Printable (Available in my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY)
- Craft Scissors
- Utility/Craft Knife
- Glue Gun
- Half Gallon Zip-lock bag
- 1 Fastener
- Hole Puncher
- Mod Podge in Gloss (optional but highly recommended) – gives the washing machine a nice finish and protects it from grubby hands!
- Sticky Velcro or Velcro Dots (optional) – if you want to shirts to stick to the color sorting mat
- Awl (optional)– or other sharp tool that can poke a hole through cardboard
- Laminator (optional) – or bring it to your local print shop
STEP BY STEP: HOW TO Make FUN Colored Shirt Matching ACTIVITY
First, cut out washing machine and machine door printable. Make sure to cut out the inside circle as well.
Next, glue washing machine printable to cardboard
- Apply firm pressure when applying the glue
- Make sure to apply glue to all surfaces of printable
- Use your hands to press down on the printable to the cardboard
- Turn glue stick to the side and use it like a “rolling pin” to make sure the printable is securely glued on.
Optional: Once the glue has completely dried, apply Gloss Mod Podge all over. This gives the washing machine a nice shine as well as protects it from grubby fingers!
Allow Mod Podge to completely dry (~20 minutes). While you wait, cut out colored shirts and laminate them (See next step). Once the washing machine is completely dry, cut out the entire thingand remove the inside circle as well.
Cut out all the shirts and laminate them.
Next, cut out the laminated shirts
Laminate the color shirt matching mat. You can also attach sticky velcro (or velcro dots) to the back of the shirt and the mat.
How to Make Washing Machine Door
LEFT: Laminate washing machine door. Before cutting it out, punch a hole a little bit away from the border. This hole is for the fastener later on.
RIGHT: Cut out the washing machine door, but make sure to cut around the punched hole (red dotted line)
Cut out washing machine door. Red dotted line is to highlight where you cut.
Putting Washing Machine All Together
Take a zip lock bag (I’m using a quart freezer bag), place it behind the washing machine and trace the inside circle.
Cut out the traced circle on the traced side of the bag. Make sure you only cut one side of the bag.
Place the cut side of ziplock bag facing back of washing machine . Align the circles together and glue the ziplock bag to the back of the cardboard. I find it easiest to apply glue a section at a time (1/5 – 1/4 of the circle), and glue the ziplock bag on. Then apply a little more glue along the next section and stick the ziplock bag on. Repeat until done.
LEFT: Using a sharp pointy edge (I used an awl), poke a hole through cardboard washing machine, at the top middle of the inner circle.
RIGHT: Attach door to washing machine. Take your fastener, stick it through the hole of door and washing machine and fasten at the back.
Washing machine with door completed. Apply sticky Velcro to the bottom of the door and machine to “close” the door, if you’d like.
You can now put your colored shirts inside the washing machine!
Different Ways to Play Color Matching Activity
There are quite a few ways you can play this colored shirt matching game:
- Put all the shirts in a pile and have your child match the shirts to the correct color on the play mat
- Place all the shirts inside the washing machine. As you take each one out, have your child say the name of the color and match it to the correct color on the mat.
- Place all the colored shirts in a pile. Then point to the different colored shirts on the play mat and say “The red shirt is dirty! Can you find it for me?”. Next, let your child find that colored shirt and put it away into the washing machine.
- Repeat as above, but this time call out multiple colored shirts at once. For example say, “The red, brown, and yellow shirts are all dirty! Can you find it and put it in the wash?”
- Let your child to put the colored shirts into their own washing machine the next time you are doing a load of laundry!
It doesn’t matter how you and your child choose to play this game, I’m sure they will have a super fun time! Let me know in the comments below if there are different ways that you and the kiddos like to enjoy this game!
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