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Rainbow Color Sorting Activity

Children love the bright colors of the rainbow and are attracted to them when they are able to see all colors in vision, which is around 5 months. Sorting becomes a favorite activity around 18 months of age. When choosing what materials to use for this sorting fun, choose fun textures like large pom poms or familiar objects like toy cars or counting bears. For older children, you can use smaller objects like fruit loops, Skittles, or buttons. Students will work on fine motor skills for this activity in addition to some basic math skills, which is classification and recognizing color.

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Sort various colored pom poms by placing them into like-colored tubes

Sorting activities are something that infants love to do at a very young age. Sorting by color, size, and shape allows children to develop math skills that they will build upon throughout their developing years. Children can learn all about what colors are in the rainbow with this activity, and it will cost you less than $10 to make! All you need are pom poms in each color of the rainbow. Get the larger ones so that little hands can grip easily. The children will take a pom pom and decide which color tube it matches. By doing this, children are problem solving as well as using their fine motor skills to drop the pom pom into the tube. Children will love this because they will get to see their pom pom drop down the tube and gather into the tray at the bottom. This can be done as a sensory bin or on the wall in an area of the room where there is space to do so. It is versatile and so fun! When you don’t want to use pom poms, you can switch out the materials to be anything small enough to fit down the tubes. (small cars, buttons, magnetic letters, etc.) When it comes to teaching the colors of the rainbow, a lot of people just use purple rather than indigo and violet or they skip orange and go from red to yellow. Don’t skip any of the colors when learning about the rainbow. Each color is important.


7 cardboard tubes painted as different colors of rainbow

Painters tape to attach to wall or sensory bin

Bin (if not attaching tubes to wall or other vertical surface)

Long tray to “catch” pom poms under tubes 10-15 large pom poms in each color of rainbow

Large tweezers (optional)

Photos of rainbows on wall nearby

Learning Outcomes




Attention regulation


Dropping objects Grouping like objects together


Step 1:

Choose where you would like to set up this sorting activity. If this is for young infants, setting this up in a temporary location like a big bin may work better. For older children, set this up using your wall or the back of a shelf where you can tape/attach the tubes to. This can be in an interest area like fine motor or math.

Step 2:

Paint each cardboard tube a different color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Don’t skip any of the colors.

Step 3:

Attach the tubes in rainbow color order on a vertical surface or the inside of a deep bin.

Step 4:

Use painters tape or duct tape to secure.

Step 5:

Have 10-15 large pom poms in each color (or other materials you have chosen) of the rainbow in a bin or individual bowls under where the tubes are. Encourage children to pick up one object at a time and place it at the top of the matching color tube. Then they can watch the object fall through at the bottom.

Step 6:

As students pick up each object, say things like, “I see you have a red pom pom. Where does it go?” or “What color is this one?” This type of activity is best for one to two students at a time.

Playful Questions

What is my favorite color in the rainbow?

How many colors can I name?

What happens when I mix some colors together?

When will I see a rainbow in the sky?

Why do rainbows appear after it rains?

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