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Tutorial: A Simple Sorting Game

July 11, 2011

A couple of months ago, I picked up some modeling clay at our local children’s store thinking it would be a nice material for manipulating and building.  We obtained some large baby food jars from one of O’s cousins to keep the different colors of clay in and for some time that’s all there was to it.

After playing with the clay for a while, O and I also started playing simple sorting games.  It soon occurred to me that with just a little bit of effort, our clay-filled baby food jars could become a wonderful way to learn through play.

Simple Sorting Game

  • non-toxic modeling clay in various colors
  • felt in coordinating colors
  • soft measuring tape
  • baby food jars
  • hot glue gun
  • hot glue
  • marker
  • scissors
  1. Measure your jars and cut felt to an appropriate size to make a band around the jar.  My felt bands are 7.5″ x 2″.  I used a rotary cutter and self-healing mat to cut mine a couple at a time.
  2. Trace around one of the lids to your jars to get an appropriately sized circle.  Cut a felt circle for each lid in the coordinating color.
  3. Using a hot glue gun, glue the felt bands around your jars.  Glue the felt circles to the tops of your lids as well.
  4. Place modeling clay inside jars and start playing!

Some Ideas for Learning Through Play:

  • Simply practice opening and closing the jars and emptying and filling them.
  • Sort the different colors of clay into coordinating jars.  Sometimes I just sit quietly while O does this and sometimes I ask him to name the colors as he sorts.
  • Roll pieces of clay into balls and play number/color games.  (Can you put two green balls into the red jar?)


  • This is a project that might be a bit tricky to do while a young child is around.  Better to play it safe and do this one by yourself while your child is otherwise occupied.  I made ours while O was outside in the garden with his papa.
  • Our modeling clay kit came with two yellows and no blue.  I can’t explain this but it does irk me a tiny bit.  *wink*
3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 7:44 am

    What a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing.

  2. July 11, 2011 2:32 pm

    Brilliant, this is one of those great simple, why didn’t I think of that ideas! Thanks!

  3. Yvonne Yeo (@beadsyydiary) permalink
    August 29, 2011 2:32 am

    This is such a wonderful idea. Stumbled upon your craft and blog while surfing for great ideas to recycle jars. I have added this craft in my post and thought would do a link back to you too.



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