Color Sort Game

I made up a new game for my students this week! It’s called a “Color Sort.” This month, many of the Power Standards are based on the Art Element of Color. Therefore, I needed a creative way to review the color families. On day 1, I decided to show my Color PowerPoint. Can you hear the kids snoring? Even a PowerPoint seems boring to my students sometimes because I use them so much. Plus, a color wheel is just a boring wheel, how much more exciting can you make it?

Enter the “Color Sort” Game

My whiteboard looked like this. I posted terms at the top and cut squares representing all of the colors.

The squares have sticky magnets on the back so we can move them.

The picture below is how the “Color Sort” looked when the kids walked into class.  All of the colors were pushed to the side. We had to solve the puzzle!

So, I called up students one by one, and each got to place a color under the category they thought it belonged. The room was silent. We sorted the colors into warm, cool, and neutral groups.

Then, we sorted the colors into primary and secondary groups.

The kids did a really good job. I had the kids watching put their thumbs up if they agreed on the color placement and down if they disagreed. It was a great way to ensure all students were engaged and give me some formative feedback on who still wasn’t getting it. I used it with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-graders, and it was a hit with them all.

I realize that if I had an interactive whiteboard, I could do something like this on it. But, for me, this solution worked great. I want to enhance this idea by making even more sorting games with concepts and words. I find linking the visual image to the word connects things for students who learn in different ways.

What are other ways you review vocabulary or the art elements with your students?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • S. Brooks

    Good timing, I am doing a color review with my 3rd graders this week. Because I need to incorporate reading into my curriculum, I created a worksheet. (I only have 1 worksheet per grade, each year, cuz the classroom teachers OVER use them!!!) Anyway…I have a blank colorwheel they fill in with the color words, with P or S next to the word for Primary or Secondary, two rows of colors they match for complementary, a word search with neutral words, and a few fill in the blank sentences. Next week we will start a watercolor technique chart, a WC texture chart and last a WC weather chart. We refer to these charts all through 3rd, 4th & 5th….phew! I can use the color sort game you created for 1st and 2nd…that will work perfectly! Thank you. Enjoy!

    • Great ideas! Wow you are sure busy! I like the idea of using the same charts 3-5th. This would really build the knowledge throughout the grades. Thanks for contributing! Good luck!


  • Amy

    Have to tell you, Jessica, this activity was something Ellie came home talking about. She loved the sorting and the group ‘voting’. Even on the short drive home from school she pointed out the window and informed us if the color belonged in the warm, cool or neutral.

    I’d say this new lesson was a hit!

  • I’ve played this game with the kids before, but instead of construction paper, I use paint color swatch cards from Home Depot. (I took a sample of about 30 different colors of behr paint) Then I mix them up and as soon as the kids walk in the door, I hand one card to each of them. (some of the color samples have awesomely creative names that the kids get such a kick out of!) Then they go back to their seats and we begin sorting one by one. Each student has a turn to stand up and read us their color’s cool name, then go up and place it in the right category. They love this! ;)

    • Hi Kristin! I love your ideas. I forgot about paint chips. I think I will use them for monochromatic colors. They are a perfect example! Off to the hardware store. :) Thanks! :)

  • Tami Appleby

    I love your blog! This is a great idea! I have a WORD Wall in my room that I painted to look like an art gallery; magnet paint with picture frames painted on. We put up words from the lessons and any new vocab that comes up during our discusions. They stay up for all classes so the younger kids learn new words they might not get exposed to! Our first word was EMBELLISH!!!