Teaching Colors to Young Children
When my son was in preschool (at 3), I was terribly worried. He didn’t know his colors! I thought something was wrong either with him or with me. I approached his teacher with this “problem” and she kindly responded, “Don’t worry. He will learn them when he is ready.” Darn it! I knew that! This was one of those situations I often encounter where Boy Mama and Teacher Mama just weren’t communicating properly. The teacher in me said, “Duh,” but the Mom in me continued to worry. Looking back now, I know my worries were a bit silly. He did in fact learn his colors when he was ready just as his teacher said he would. My now almost 3 year old still calls most colors blue (although he got green twice today!) and I am channeling my Teacher Mama so I don’t worry. He will get it when he is ready. That said, I know that many of you out there will still worry and wonder if your child is ever going to learn his colors. For you all, here are some simple activities you can do to help your child along.
Important note: When talking about colors use the phrases such as “The balloon is red” instead of “The red balloon.”
If you want more information about talking with your children about colors, see Why Johnyy Can’t Name his Colors.
Color Recognition Games
Create a Color Die– Using the dice template (or creating your own), color each side of the die a different color. This die will be a used for some of the following games. For a template see post Teacher Mama: Creating You Own Die for Learning.
- Color Catch– Have your child roll the die, say the name of the color, then run to something in the room that is that color and touch it. This is super simple, but your child will love it.
- Lego Colors— You can use any set of colorful blocks you have for this game. Have your child roll the die, say the name of the color and then choose one item from the pile of blocks is that color. Want to make it even more challenging for an older child? Roll 2 die- one color die and one number die, have your child say the number and the color then choose that number of that color blocks from the pile.
- Beanbag Toss– Put out 5 or so different colors of construction paper on the floor. Have your child toss the ball and name the color on which the ball lands.
- Color Grab Bag– Put several blocks of different colors in a lunch bag. Have your child reach into the bag, pull out a block and name the color. Want to add more? Using the same colored construction paper as before, have your child place the block he pulled from the bag on the matching paper.
- Color Hunt– Roll the color die or name a color and have your child collect things from around the house that are that color and bring them to you. When he brings them to you, be sure to use the appropriate color word often!
- Color Hop– Again, using the colored construction paper, place the papers on the floor with space between each piece. Roll the color die or call out a color and have your child jump on the correct paper.
- Color Traffic Jam– Using your child’s cars or trucks, create color traffic jams. Have him line up all the red cards or blue cars.
- Color Parking Lot– Basically the same as the traffic jam, but create a parking lot of all the red cars or green cars. My son LOVED creating parking lots when he was younger.
- Sorting– Anything you have that is colorful can be sorted by color– socks, markers, crayons, blocks etc. While your child is sorting, use the color words often and have him repeat after you., Sorting can be done simply in piles or items can be sorted on the colored papers from above.
Other ideas that take a bit more effort and time:
- Color Lunch–Make an all one color lunch or snack to reinforce certain colors. For example, serve red jello, strawberries and a jelly sandwich.
- Color Dress– Have your child dress all in one color for the day (you may want this to be a day you stay at home… :))
- Color Walk– Head outdoors with several small pieces of paper of different colors. Hand your child a piece of colored paper and have him find something that matches such as a flower, a sign or car.
- Car Colors– Sit on the sidewalk outside of your home or nearby if you live on a quiet street. As the cars go by, name the colors you see. Older children can choose a color and then count the number of cars of that color that go by.
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© Boy Mama Teacher Mama 2013