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Children begin to notice colours at a very young age. Parents can, therefore, start teaching the concept of colours by the time their little ones turn 18 months old. Babies as young as 18 months may not be able to communicate verbally, but can easily point to different colours once they are introduced to them. Learning and identifying is considered a milestone in their cognitive development. Being able to distinguish colours helps build the cognitive pathways between visual cues and words. Therefore, helping children learn colours is essential at a very early age.
Why Teaching Colours to Toddlers Seems Complicated
Your young one’s ability to recognise different colours begins to develop way before he is one year old. At the same time, he starts to notice differences in shapes, texture, and size and picks up the similarities. Knowing primary colours takes longer, and most children by the age of 30-months can name at least one colour.
Before you begin to teach colours to toddlers, it is crucial that you understand your child’s learning process. Especially with abstract concepts, such as colours, kids need to have accumulated a lot of information before they can understand colours are. Before the concept of colour is understood, the learning might be as simple as ‘blue is blue’. Kids cannot differentiate between different shades, such as shades of blue – light blue and navy blue; neither do they have the verbal skills to explain the difference.
As kids begin learning what each colour is called, they also need to understand what each colour represents. For example, if you show your child a green apple and say the colour is green, he may associate the shape of an apple with the word green and may remember it as such. Therefore, you will also have to show him 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, kids can grasp what green is. Therefore, every time you show your kid something green, but with a different quality to it, his understanding of the concept gets refined. Although it takes time, teaching colours can be easy as you can use everyday objects and different images to teach your child all about colours.
How to Teach Colours With Everyday Activities
Teaching colours during everyday activities and routine is the best way to reinforce the concept of colours that is taught to kids in their preschools. Children have a natural affinity toward brightly coloured objects, especially red; hence most of their toys are strikingly colourful. Showing them an object, say, a ball, using the word “colour” along with the name of the object is a good way to begin teaching them colours. Therefore, instead of saying ‘this is red’, the better approach 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. Kids would be able to point at a colour long before they can say its name. Therefore, during playtime, you could ask your child to pick up all the pieces of a particular colour and put them together. It helps to stick to the primary colours – red, yellow, blue, black and white. You can add other colours later on.
Dedicating time to each colour separately is another 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 in the same colour or use toys with a specific colour every 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 will learn better.
10 Easy Ways to Teach Colours to Preschoolers
These ways to teach colours to preschoolers are fun and can help you teach your kid the concept of colours effectively.
1. Modelling Clay
Activities involving modelling clay is a great tool to teach colours in kindergarten. Modelling clay is highly engaging while being endlessly fun. Children can learn how to recognise colours and build different things out of the same colour. They can also mix colours to see what they get!
2. Colour Matching Games
Colour matching games are great to teach primary colours to preschoolers. You can make coloured cards out of any cardboard and place them on the floor or table, and get your kid to pick up matching colours. The same can be done with coloured blocks or balls with each day dedicated to a different colour.
3. Finger Painting
Finger painting is an immensely fun activity to teach colours to 2 to 3-year-old kids. 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 can 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.
6. Treasure Hunt
Hide a differently coloured object in a playing pit and let the kids 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. Glue a magnetic strip on each cutout. Then, take a stick and glue a string to it. On the other end of the string, carefully glue a magnet. Now, let your kid go fishing to catch all the fish in the colour of the day!
8. Colouring Books
Colouring in books is the simplest way to get kids to learn colours. Ask your child what coloured crayon he is using for each page when he’s having fun colouring.
9. Colour Days
Wear the same colour shirts on different days of the week. Monday could be yellow, Tuesday could be red, Wednesday can be green and so on. On those days, play with toys of the colour of the day.
10. Ribbon Dancing
Coloured streamers are available at party stores and are excellent for a ribbon dancing activity. Let the kids have fun dancing with their coloured streamer.
These activities will help you teach your child different colours in a fun way. First, familiarise your kid with bright colours; kids have a natural affinity towards anything bright and shiny. Then, introduce him to other colours. Try to use everyday objects to reinforce the concept of colours, as it will help your kid learn colours, and various shapes and sizes. Apart from that, focus on improving other skills, too, by getting hands-on educational kits to promote overall intelligence in your child. The activities in these kits will help him work and hone other talents, and learn something new every day.
Also Read: 15 Interactive Music Games for Kids