Teach Mama Talks: Fun, Frugal Shape and Color Sorting

September 21, 2012 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

This educational idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug , written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott.

The best, most meaningful learning takes place during games and play.  -Amy

Often I’ve found that my kids love to play with items that are not necessarily toys.  Mirrors, ribbons, buttons, tissue paper, paper rolls, you name it. They always seem to find a way to play with these little, around-the-house items.

sorting shapes and colors

So years ago, I started keeping lids for this very purpose–I figured that if my kids were going to play with funny things, why not sneak some learning into the mix? Lids seemed the perfect fit because they were free (yay!), they were so easy to come by (yay!), and they were safe for little hands (yay!).

After the lids are washed and dried, I put them in a bag that I hung in the kitchen.  Once the bag was filled, I added the lids to a large container, and before I knew it, container after container was filled with lids!

sorting shapes and colors

Lids are perfect for shape and color sorting!

(Most of ours are circles, but square and rectangular lids are relatively easy to find.)
sorting shapes and colors

Here are some fun ways to play with lids while sneaking in a bit of learning along the way:

  • sort them by color
  • sort them by shape
  • sort them by size

For older children, talk about primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and secondary colors (orange, green, purple).  Introduce the idea of shades of color by placing the lids in order from darkest red to lightest.

sorting shapes and colors

Try matching colors, stacking the lids to build a tall tower, or putting lids inside one another to hide them!

Talk about the similarities between lids and the differences:

  • Which is the largest lid?
  • Which is the smallest lid?
  • Which color do you see the most?
  • Which lids have letters or numbers on them?
  • Which lids are thick? Which are thin?


  • Placing colored construction paper on the floor and have your child match up the lids, calling out the color as the lid is placed correctly;
  • Counting lids;
  • Grouping lids by 5’s and 10’s;
  • Skip counting with lids– by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc.

No matter how you choose to play, lids can be super for shape and color sorting–and so much more!


amy mascott @teachmama profileHang with Amy over at teachmama.com for more cool, super-sneaky ways to throw in some learning in the name of fun or join her at we teach–a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas and grow–no matter the classroom. Or tweet with her (@teachmama), pin with her or chat with her on Facebook!

Entry filed under: Articles by, Blog Ambassadors, Educational Activities, Family Time, Organization & Household, Parenting & Family, Skill Building Tips, Uncategorized.

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