Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Young children learn to see colours and even differentiate between similar colours from quite an early age. It’s not till later that they start to learn the names for colours and often have a number of colour names by around the age of three. Children usually learn to match colours first, grouping objects by the same colour, later they learn to point out a specific colour when asked, and then finally they learn the word for the colour. Learning about colour is an important part of a child’s mathematical development. Children can learn to recognize colours, name them and match them to other objects with this activity. It is important that children are able to identify and match colours when entering foundation stage.

Training videos

colour obstacle course from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Equipment required

  • Coloured bean bags
  • Coloured mats or buckets
  • Laminates of the colours for the wall
  • equipment to make an obstacle course


Up to six weeks

How it works

The instructor sets up a simple obstacle course which grows in complexity over the weeks and the children go through the course holding a coloured bean bag which they have to match correctly at the end.

What to do in the class

This activity builds over the weeks:

Week 1

Put 4 colours on the wall ( if you are using the shape pictures, explain that we were only going to focus on the colours for the time being ) red, blue, green and yellow. Underneath each picture, put mats of the same colour. Ask the children what the colours are called – this helps you get a feel for who knows their colours and to tell those who didn’t want the names of the colours are. Hand out an equal number of different coloured bean bags. Ask the children who has a blue bean bag ans ask them to go put it on the mat under the blue picture. Then the red etc. You might need the parents help to stop the children from all trying to put their bean bag on the mat at the same time!

Week 2

Repeat the activity as above but go through it twice this time so the children are able to have a go with two different coloured bean bags.

Week 3

This week put the bean bags on the mats to begin with. Give out a coloured hoop one at a time to the children. When they get the hoop ask them to go and find the bean bag of the same colour. They could then play with the hoops and beanbags with their grown up.

Week 4

The obstacle course! Set up an obstacle course – you could included tunnels, hoops to go through, cones to weave between, bridges. Give each child a coloured bean bag and ask them to cross the course and to place it on the correct mat. Once they have done that they can go back the beginning and take a different colour bean bag.

Adaptations for older/younger children

  • The exercise can be progressed by incorporating more challenging colours, taking 2 colours at the same time, perhaps creating 2 different coloured obstacle courses.

What to do in a nursery setting

Children do need additional support to complete this, so works best with older children in a nursery setting.


This activity could be done with shapes rather than colours.