How to Teach Colours to Toddlers and Preschoolers

How to Teach Colours to Toddlers and Preschoolers

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Teaching children colours can be part of fun activities for both parents and children. They normally begin to learn colours during their preschool years and their ability to identify the same is considered a milestone in their cognitive development. Being able to identify colours helps build the cognitive pathways between visual clues and words. Therefore, engaging with children in helping them learn colours is important.

Why Teaching Colours to Toddlers Seem Complicated?

Your young one’s ability to recognise different colours begins to develop around 18 months. At the same time, they also begin to notice differences in shapes, texture, and size and also pick up similarities. Knowing basic colours takes longer and most children by the age of 36 months can name at least one.

Before you can begin to teach colours to toddlers, it is important that you understand how the learning process of toddlers and kids occur. Especially with abstract concepts such as colours, kids need to have accumulated hundreds of pieces of information before they can distil out what a colour is. Before the concept of colour is understood, the learning might be as simple as blue is blue. Kids cannot understand that different shades of blue are all still blue such as; light blue and navy blue. Neither do they have the verbal skills to explain the difference.

As they begin learning what each colour is called, they also need to understand what colour represents.

For example, if you show them a green apple and say the colour is green, the child may associate the shape of an apple with the word green and may remember it as such. Therefore, you will also have to show them an apple that is not green, so it can act as a negative example to show the difference. With more examples which show that green is not the shape, not the size, not the texture and not the name of an object, it is possible for them to grasp what is green. Therefore, every time you show them something green, but with a different quality to it, their understanding of the concept gets refined. Although it takes time, teaching colours can be easy as we don’t need to buy all that many teaching aids to do it. With everyday objects combined with persistence and repetition, it is possible to teach them.

mother teaching son colours

How to Teach Colours With Everyday Activities?

Teaching during everyday activities and routine is the best way to reinforce the concept of colour that is taught to them in their preschools. Children have a natural affinity toward brightly coloured objects; hence most of their toys are strikingly colourful. When you show them, say, a ball, using the word “colour” along with the name of the object is a good way to begin. Instead of saying ‘this is red’, the better way would be to say ‘this is a ball, and its colour is red’. The same can be done with different coloured balls.

It should also be noted that receptive language in kids develops earlier than expressive language. They would be able to point at a colour long before they can say its name. Therefore, during playtime, you could ask them to pick up all the pieces of say, yellow and put them together. It helps to stay with the main colours – Red, Yellow, Blue, Black and White. Add other colours later on. Dedicating time to each colour separately is a good way to teach the concept. Having a “green week” or a “yellow week” works very well in understanding colours over time; you could wear identical coloured clothes or paint everything in the same colour or use toys with colour specific to the week. Children are experiential learners; therefore if they are taught to explore colours through all their senses such as sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, they learn better.

10 Easy Ways to Teach Colours to Pre-schoolers

1. Modelling clay

Activities involving modelling clay is a great tool on how to teach colours in kindergarten. Modelling clay is highly engaging while being endlessly fun. Children can learn how to recognize colours and build different things out of the same colour, or they can mix colours to see what they get.

2. Colour matching games

Colour matching games are a good way of teaching primary colours to preschoolers. You can make coloured cards out of any cardboard and place them on the floor or table. The game is to pick up matching colours. The same can be done with coloured blocks or balls with each day being a day of a different colour.

3. Finger painting

Finger painting is immensely fun and good activity on how to teach colours to 3-year-olds. Children of that age are old enough to paint with colours, and you can start with one colour every day. The activity would be to let them have fun colouring while they tell you what colour it is.

4. I Spy game

Play the “I Spy” game around the house and let the kids find objects of different colours. You can also play this game with an “I Spy” book that has different coloured papers pasted on different pages and the kids look for them.

5. Colour Jigsaw puzzle

Make a simple jig-saw puzzle out of cardboard strips of the same colour and let the kids pick up similar colour and put them all together.

girl playing with jigsaw puzzle

6. Treasure hunt game of colours

Hide a differently coloured object in the sand of their playing pit and let them dig out blocks of the same colour. Alternatively, you can use a bucket filled with sand to hide smaller coloured blocks.

7. Colour fishing game

Take cardboard sheets of different colours and cut out fish shapes. Stick a magnetic strip to their backs and use a stick with a string and a magnet attached at the end of it as a fishing rod. The game is to catch fish of the same colour.

8. Colouring books

Colouring in books is the simplest way to get them to learn colours. Ask them what colour crayon they are using for each page.

9. Colour days

Wear the same colour shirts on different days of the week. Monday could be yellow, Tuesday could be red, and Wednesday can be green and so on. On those days, play with toys of the colour of the day.

10. Ribbon dancing using coloured streamers

Coloured streamers available at party stores are excellent for a ribbon dancing activity. Let the kids have fun dancing with their coloured streamer.

The tricks mentioned above will help you teach your child about different colours in a fun way. First, familiarise him with bright colours, as kids have a natural affinity towards anything bright and shiny, then teach about other colours. Try to use everyday objects to reinforce the concept of colours in your child, as it will help him learn about different colours, as well as, various shapes and sizes. Apart from teaching him about colours, focus on improving his other skills, too. Get your hands on educational kits to promote overall intelligence of your child. The activities in these kits will help him work and hone his other talents, and every day he will learn something new.

Also Read: 15 Interactive Music Games for Kids