I LOVED this fun, little color-coded project because it intrigued my kiddos and managed to hold their attention span for quite some time! (You’ll understand the color-coded part in a bit). If you’re anything like me, it’s rather frustrating to pull out all the craft supplies to then turn around and have the kids get bored within minutes. Here’s a fun way to incorporate a craft and activity in one! You can focus it around a theme as I did here (for Valentines Day), or make it generic and use it on any occasion.
What you will need:
- Coloring Pages
- Crayons or markers
- Construction Paper
- Glue or glue stick
- Laminating machine & sheets
- Permanent marker
- Velcro tabs (optional)
Who remembers this previous post?
That's right! I've provided coloring page printables for FREE to all of my readers (Because I love you all that much)! Just click on the picture to access that post!
First, we started off coloring these cute little guys. Of course, I let each child pick out their favorite.
Once all the coloring was complete, I gave each kiddo a glue stick and one colored construction paper of choice (Here’s where the color-coded part comes into play). Have each child put glue all over the back of their coloring sheet. (And I mean alllllllll over. They loved this part!)
Then have them flip it back over and center & press it onto their colored construction paper.
Now you should have 3 completed sheet all on a construction paper backing.
Now it’s your turn! Send the kids off for a short snack and grab your laminating machine, scissors, and permanent marker. After you laminate each sheet, flip them right side facing down, and draw random puzzle looking shapes using your permanent marker. It really doesn’t have to be perfect, as no matter what the shapes will fit in with each other. (You can make each puzzle as easy or as difficult as you see fit. My daughter is only 2 so I made her pink-backed shapes larger and easier.
Back to more fun for the kiddos! They get to practice their fine motor skills by cutting the shapes out!
If you made your puzzle slightly more difficult and find that your child is struggling with cutting because of all the turns, feel free to help him out a bit, or only giving him just a few pieces to cut. This is supposed to be fun! Not uber frustrating! (And if you happen to have a 2 year old that just wants to practice cutting slits, by all means, let her have at it! lol.)
Now you should have your pieces all cut out for the kids to play with! Each piece will have it’s own backing color (in our case some with blue, some with red, and some with pink! No confusion on what pieces go with which puzzle!) And if for some reason you find any pieces splitting like this:
It just means there were some spots that didn’t get all the glue love that it deserved! Just add more glue between the two sheets and press firmly again. Super simple!
Now you can let the kiddos enjoy their color-coded creation!
You can end it here, or take it a step further!
My children inherited my ability to get frustrated easily, and didn’t like how the pieces shifted every time they placed a new puzzle piece down. (This tends to happen a LOT when playing with paper puzzles). In addition, this Momma also preferred to have a neat and easy way to keep the puzzles together for easy storage and accessibility. My quick & easy solution for both: Create a game board for each puzzle. This made a HUGE difference!
I grabbed 3 more of the same colored construction paper pieces and laminated each sheet. You will want to label ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ on the back with your permanent marker before moving on to the next step. Next, have your velcro tabs handy but set them to the side.
Flip your ‘board’ backing so that your ‘top/bottom’ labels are not on the visible side. To get a good center placement, go ahead and put the puzzle together, laying it over top of your backing.
From there, take one piece off at a time. Flip it over and adhere a velcro tab (both hook & loop on top of each other). Flip the puzzle piece back over and put it back in it’s spot. Now the velcro part that adheres to the backing will be in it’s perfect spot to match it’s puzzle piece.
Remove one piece at a time and follow the steps above until your puzzle is done!
For puzzles with smaller (which means MORE) pieces, this can eat through your velcro stash REAL quick! And because we all know that velcro isn’t SUPER cheap, to get more for my money I cut my velcro strips in half. (You could even cut them in fourths!) I followed the same process as above for the other 2 puzzles, just with smaller velcro pieces.
Now you are officially all done!! Here I have 3 complete, color-coded puzzles, along with their ‘game boards’ and MUCH less frustrated children!
And the highlight for this ‘Type A’ Momma?
ORDER! I love that the pieces adhere. I don’t have to worry about losing any, and they can store nicely stacked in sheet layers! We’ll be getting these back out on Valentines Day every year! Whether to play with, or just to admire the memories. We really enjoyed this project together!
Want more fun ideas for this project?
- Make one of these in place of a Valentine card for your child’s special friend!
- Send these to the Grandparents as a special little surprise!
- Make unit study puzzles using images of something they are currently working on! (Animals, Continents, Parts of the Body, etc).
- Make fun birthday party invitations using this method by using images of your child’s theme!
What do you think? I hope you got some fun ideas and enjoyed it as much as we did! Thank you for stopping by!