In my journey to teach my children their learning styles, I had to find a way to teach colors in a very hands-on way. Our toy tools have come in very handy in the past for teaching numbers, so it’s only natural that they’d be really useful in teaching primary colors. Just as in teaching numbers, it was beneficial for us to focus on one color per week, as we were working on the primary colors. This seems to be true for active children. If your child is more focused, you may be able to do more than one color per week.
You really can select any toy to use, but here’s why the toy screw worked for us:
* Small enough to hold.
* Texture to add another element of interest (great for hands-on learners).
Let the fun begin… Here are some fun ways that we have used to explore colors:
Open a book. This is overly obvious. I know. Hang with me here. With the toy (in our case, the toy screw) in hand, help the child touch the color of the toy to an object in the book of the same color. Repeat the color name. If he/she is still interested pick up another book. The point here is activity! Check out a few of our favorite books about color.
Take a scavenger hunt. This is one of my boys’ favorites! I ask them to put on their pretend “explorer goggles” because we are going to hunt for the color X. You can even make a special box (out of an old shoe box) for your finds. The first time you do this, you may need to offer some assistance. As they get used to the idea and the color, make it more complicated by saying what kind of object. “Let’s try to find a blue car and a blue shoe.” Using a timer is also fun! Have your child show you what he/she found. Be patient and let them try to describe it. You can prompt them with other sensory questions like, “Is it soft? What shape is it?” This is also helpful for reluctant talkers.
Print off coloring pages. There are many resources online for printing your own coloring pages. You can google “coloring pages” and find a plethora of options. Give your child varying shades of this week’s color and let them have fun. After a few weeks, you can set a few different colors in front of them and ask them to give you this week’s color. For example, “Can you find the blue crayon?” Also, check out this fun color graph printable.
Head out to the store. As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it’s tough to get everyone ready and head out of the house. If you’re planning on being out or if you just need some fresh air, use your weekly color as an excuse. Take a walk around Target or Walmart (or even your local grocery store) and help your child find this week’s color. Again, you may want to prep them by asking them to put on their “Explorer Goggles.” My boys really get into this. It’s hilarious, and I love watching them LOVE to learn!
Get dressed! This is an obvious one, but it’s also fun to help your child pick out clothes by color. If they feel overwhelmed, pull out just a couple of options and ask them to help you find the blue (or whatever color you’re using) shirt.
I Spy… After a few weeks, you may be able to start the classic “I spy” game with your child. For a while, we didn’t call it “I Spy.” I would just tell them that I see something blue in the room and ask if they can guess what it is.
Again, I’ve been learning to take it slow and just have fun. Life isn’t a contest (yeah, I’m still learning this), so give them time to explore and figure out the world around them.
Toys for Learning Colors
Wooden Rainbow Stacker
Lift & Learn Puzzle
Wooden Shape Sorter
Jumbo Counting Bears
Melissa and Doug Colorful Fish Puzzle
Simple First Words Let’s Say Our Colors
Color Matching Egg Set
Learning Resources Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Set
Kristy Rodriguez is the mom to two active little boys and a wife to a network engineer / avid golfer. She’s a technical writer and Ballet instructor. Before kids, she worked in the corporate world as a writer, project manager, and business analyst (though not all at the same time). But her greatest joy and honor is being the mom to her little boys. As a recovering perfectionist, her blog, Almost On Purpose, was born out of learning how to make do with less and to be satisfied with life’s happy accidents.
Read her other Guest Post: Hands-on Handwriting: Making Writing Fun