Paint sample cards. Select 2 identical sheets for each color you want to use.
Glue. (I prefer glue dots.)
Strips of cardboard cut into the same shape as the paint sample cards (optional).
Container to hold the clothespins.
Separate the paint sample cards into 2 identical piles.
Using only the first pile, cut small rectangles of each shade from the paint sample cards.
Glue each rectangle onto a separate clothespin.
If you want to make the second pile of paint sample cards sturdier, glue them onto the pieces of cardboard.
Choose one paint strip and separate out the colored clothespins that match it.
Present your tot with the selected paint strip and matching clothespins.
Choose one of the clothespins and hold it next to color at the top of the paint strip.
Model your thinking by saying, “Do these shades match?” and then (depending on if it matches or not, “No, the shades don’t match. I think this one is darker…” or “Yes, these match!”
If the shades don’t match, move the clothespin down to the next darker color and ponder over whether they match or not. Invite your child to give you an opinion. Keep going until you reach the matching shade.
When you reach the matching shade, say, “These shades match!” and deliberately show your tot how to press the ends of the clothespin to open it, slide it onto the card, and release the clothespin to make it close.
Select a new clothespin and repeat the process.
Hand the work over to your tot once they understand the activity.