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Oh, colors! They are all around us. From the clothes we wear to the leaves rustling in the wind. They bring beauty and mystery to everything around us. Learning to recognize and name the colors is an important skill for your toddler to learn. We want them to be able to identify and enjoy all the colors! We’ll explore all about teaching colors to toddlers and finding fun ways to help them make those connections.
As you get started (or continue on if you have already begun!), I would recommend starting off with the basic colors; red, yellow, green, and blue. This can help your kiddo learn to recognize the basic colors before moving onto the many other colors out there.
#1 Sock Toss
Speaking of fun games, give this one a shot! Gather up some colorful socks and roll them up into a ball. Using two laundry baskets, tape a piece of paper to each basket, showing the color that belongs in there. Then step back and let the inner baseball player shine. Let your little one throw the socks into the basket that they feel like they belong in. After they have all been thrown, empty the baskets and see how they did!
#2 Give Choices
You have probably noticed that your toddler likes to have choices! Don’t we all:) They like to be empowered by choosing things for themselves.
You can easily throw in some color practice while giving your kiddo a choice. “Would you like to use the red cup or the blue cup?” “Do you want to wear the green shirt or the yellow shirt?” As they get more familiar with the colors, encourage them to use the word along with pointing to their object of choice.
#3 Say It Then Say It Again
As a parent, you may have found yourself repeating things over and over and over again. Kids learn through repetition, so this makes sense! Learning the colors can be a lot of fun, but it also takes time. Keep that process moving by repeating things throughout the day. “I love that you chose the red block! Where are you going to put it now?” “Here is your yellow coat. Let’s put it on so you are ready to go outside.” Repeating the colors we see in the things we are doing can make a big difference over time.
Sorting things is not only fun, it can be a great way to introduce and practice the colors. You most likely have toys or objects already in your home that you could use for this activity! Some things we have used are counting bears, colorful shapes, blocks, and crayons. You can set it up whichever way works best for you. Some ideas could be to put a bowl/plate out for each color, using a tray with multiple sections, stacking the blocks by color, or choosing different parts of the room for each color to be placed.
You can start out by showing your toddler a colorful object, naming it, and placing it in the correct spot. Make it a game! Take turns, involve other siblings, friends, or parents, and smile as you go.
#5 Singing Songs
Songs are a great way to teach just about anything! I learned the alphabet song early on in life and I certainly know my alphabet letters now! As a first grade teacher, my class and I sang songs all the time. We’d sing the alphabet song (of course!), songs about numbers, counting, shapes, and the days of the week, just to name a few. It was amazing to see the light bulb turn on for kids as they sang these songs, eventually singing the words by memory. I overheard several students sing a song to themselves as they were working on something to help them remember.
Learning colors through song is yet another great way to practice the colors! Try singing songs like these.
#6 Games and Puzzles
In my experience, the best learning happens when kids don’t realize they are “learning” and they are just enjoying a fun activity. A few ways to do this is to give your toddler the chance to play some games like memory, matching, and putting puzzles together.
#7 Colorful Food
Eating food is one of those things that we all have in common. It’s something we do every day. Why not use your meal time as another place to learn the colors? Lucky for us, there are all kinds of colorful food. Now don’t worry, I’m definitely not suggesting making every single plate of food colorful and full of color learning fun. I’m a mom and I completely understand how impossible and unrealistic that would be! But hey, making a colorful plate of food here and there is totally something I can do.
Many kids like to touch and feel their food. They push green peas around their plate. They might try to mix a slice of red pepper with their mashed potatoes. Add some colorful food to their plate and talk about it! “What are you eating there?” “Those look like some yummy green peas.” Encourage your little one to use the color along with the name as learn to speak more and describe the food on their plate. Add a dose of fun. “Let’s see who can eat a red grape first!”
#8 Use The Same Objects
Your toddler is learning all kinds of new things every day. Their little brain is hard at work piecing together this word and that object, remembering how to ask for milk, and where they left their favorite toy. Help them out a bit by using the same objects to compare different colors. For example, if you are practicing the color red, compare a red block to a green block instead of a red block to a green pillow. Keeping the objects within the same range will help your child make the connections a little easier. Some of these blocks may be a fun addition to your toddler’s learning and play toys.
#9 Colors on the Sidewalk
Grab some sidewalk chalk and head outside. You can invite your little one to pick a color out of the box to draw with. You can switch off letting them choose and “testing” them by asking them to pick up specific color. Another variation could be to draw circles using the colors you are currently working on. Let your toddler hop into each circle, shouting the name of the color.
#10 A Walk in Nature
Are you getting a little restless being indoors? Take the learning outside! Go on a walk around your neighborhood and keep an eye out for extra colorful things. “Look at all of those green leaves on that tree!”
Another idea is to take a piece of colored paper and have your toddler hold onto it. As you walk, look for objects that match the color of their piece of paper.
#11 Color Search
Let your toddler choose a color either on a piece of paper, a block, or a toy. After they have chosen a color, ask them to look around the room for anything that matches that color. Once they have found a few things, feel free to expand the search to other rooms in your house. You can also set a timer and see how many items they can gather before the time is up.
#12 Stomp On It
Tape colored pieces of paper to the floor. You’ll want it to be pretty secure! Ask your toddler to hop onto each page that matches a specific color. “Hop onto each red paper.” Turn on some music and make it a dance party! Try dancing on specific colors during different parts of the song.
Do you have a budding artist in your house? Let me have a chance to show off their artistic skills! Or just to have fun with painting;) You can buy some kid-friendly paint or try making your own.
Put down some white paper and away they go. If you are working on a particular color, maybe have them start with that one. Point out each time they use that color.
#14 Dress Up
This one is simple and can be worked right into something you do every morning anyway, picking clothes out to wear for the day. Let your child choose their clothes based on the colors. If there are just too many options, narrow it down to two and give them the choice. It can be fun to have them watch for others wearing the same color that day if you happen to go out!
#15 I Spy
This may not be a new game, but it is definitely a great one. Choose an item in the room and say “I spy a….” name the color of the item and have your child figure out what you have found. For example, you could see a yellow pillow on the couch and say “I spy something that is yellow.”
As they get more comfortable with it, let them be the one to ‘spy’ the items, naming the color and letting you figure out which object they are talking about.
Watching and helping your toddler learn can be so much fun! Feel free to choose something from this article and try it out today!