Here is a very simple activity that I have seen packaged commercially for about 5 times the cost of doing it with materials you already have at home.
Appropriate for ages:
Two and Up
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
2. Different color paints
3. Paper (or regular) plates to hold the paint
4. Construction paper (or a thicker paper)
WHAT TO DO:
1. Cut the sponges into different shapes.
Start with basic shapes such as circle, square and triangle. If these are too simple, you can choose higher level shapes -- oval, rectangle, octagon etc... If you have a kindergarten child, you might want to let him/her try to cut them out independently.
2. Put some paint into each plate.
You do not need a lot of paint for this to work! Put a little at a time on the plate and avoid a big mess.
3. Have your child put the sponges into the paint and then onto a piece of construction paper (or heavier paper).
4. Talk about the names of the colors and shapes he is using. Have him tell you what he is making. ("A red square" or a "yellow triangle").
* Give your child two sheets of paper. Ask her to put specific shapes or colors onto each paper. For example all the red shapes on one and the blue shapes on another. Or, all the triangles on one sheet and all the circles on another.
* You can cut out basic objects from sponges. The commercial products do a better job of this, but simple shapes like a car or a house can be made without professional help
* Have your child make various objects out of the sponge shapes. For example, let him think of how to make a house out of a square and a triangle or a car out of a circle, rectangle and a square. If your child is not ready to do this on her own, then show your child how to do it or help her do it.