Your child can learn his or her colors before kindergarten or even preschool by starting early and teaching everyday. If you haven’t been teaching your child colors since they were an infant, don’t worry, it’s not too late, but there’s no time like the present to get started and give your child a jump start on education.
Kids love learning and they love playing games. Almost every educational moment can be turned into a game for toddlers. All of the following examples of teaching colors are tried and true ways for your child to learn.
So what’s the catch? The only catch is that you have to be consistent. You are the key to your child’s development and growth. Work with your child daily and talk to them often. Play these games daily. Before you know it, your child will know everything they need to know before they even walk into kindergarten.
Use color words in regular conversation with your child. Talk to them as much as possible about what you’re doing, even if you’re just folding clothes. Make comments such as “This white wash cloth is very soft,” or “I love this blue shirt.” Colors are all around you, so talk about them with your child.
When you’re doing something that your toddler hates such as washing his or her hair, clipping his or her nails, or anything that may cause a tantrum, distract him or her with the “I Spy” game. Get really excited while you play the game and you’ll be able to get the task completed with little resistance. Open your eyes wide, add dynamics to your voice, and say “I see something you don’t see and the color is Blue!” When you first play this game, your child may not understand, so ask this follow-up question: “Do you see the color blue anywhere?” If they don’t know the color blue, then say “The color blue is like the sky, mommy’s eyes, our car, and your favorite teddy bear.” Whenever your child doesn’t know the answer to one of your questions, give him follow-up questions that help him or her figure out the answer.
Color hide and seek is a fun way to play this classic game. Gather together 4 or 5 toys, household objects, clothes, shoes, or anything of the same color. Show the items to your child before you hide them. Tell your child what the item is and what color it is. Explain that you are going to hide these objects throughout the house or limit it to just one room. Let them know when they can go find the objects and tell them to say the color and name of the object when they find it. For example, if they find the red sock, they will say “Here is the red sock!”
Your child doesn’t need to learn the colors in any particular order, but if you like a system, start with the primary colors, move on to secondary colors, then to tertiary colors. Primary colors are red blue and yellow. They are colors that cannot be made from any other two colors but when they mix together they make the secondary colors: purple, green, and orange. Then these are mixed together to make the tertiary colors which are probably be too confusing for toddlers. Be sure to teach basic colors such as white, black, brown, and gray. These colors are all around us.
Car rides can sometimes be quiet and you might find a lull in the conversation. Ask him or her questions about the scenery. “What color is that building/house/car/sign?” “What color is the sky?” “What color is the line on the road?” These questions may seem annoying, but kids love answering and learning new things.
Build your child’s personal library with books about colors. If you think new children’s books are a bit pricey, then go to second hand stores, yard sales, or look on Ebay for used books that are sure to be a bargain. Check out books from your neighborhood library in the preschool section. The hard page books that are made especially for toddlers have lots of color and are nearly indestructible.
Toddlers love repetition and love for you to “Read it again!” When you hear this for the tenth time, take a deep breath and feel your body relax. Pretend that you’ve never read it before and read it again to them. This is an example of a time when you want to give your child their way. After you read it, say, “This book needs a little rest, let’s play with your toys.” Toddlers are easily distracted.
Some other ideas for learning colors and just for fun: make a mobile to hang in your child’s room with pictures of the color you want them to learn or a rainbow, hang streamers in one color from their doorway like a beaded curtain would hang and have them jump through and shout the color, paint, and say the colors when grocery shopping together.
There are so many games that you can play with your child about colors that the possibilities are endless. Make up your games as you go along. Find a technique that works for your child and stick with it and most importantly, have fun.