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Paint-Chip Play Ideas

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Everyone has gone to the hardware store and seen the massive wall of cards showing the plethora of paint colors. But have you ever thought of incorporating them into the classroom? Paint chips are a cheap, easy material that you can use for almost anything! The bright colors are great for young children, and the cards themselves are so versatile, you’ll be amazed at tall the ways you can use them, from art projects to learning games!

Shelley Nicholson and Jessica Martinez offer a few ways of using paint chips in their book Thrifty Teacher’s Guide to Creative Learning Centers. Check out the two activities below for some inspiration on how these colorful swatches can be used to teach basic reasoning skills.

Paint Chip Matching
• Paint-chip cards
• Clothespins
• Scissors
• Glue

What to Do:
1. Using a paint-chip card with multiple shades of one color, cut a narrow strip from one edge of the paint-chip card
2. Cut the strip into individual shades
3. Glue each shade onto a clothespin
4. Encourage the children to clip the clothespins onto the paint-chip cards on the matching colors

Pant-Chip Puzzles
• Paint-chip cards
• A black marker
• Scissors

What to Do:
1. Using paint-chip cards with four to five shades on them, write a letter on each shade so that the whole card spells a simple word (BEAR, BOAT, FROG, etc.) Draw a picture on the card to match the word
2. Cut each shade apart from the others. Each puzzle piece should have one of the letters and part of the picture on it
3. Let the children try to put the word or picture together. Make sure each puzzle is a different color so that the pieces don’t get mixed up!

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