There are so many great ways to teach colors to children. Below are a few tried-and-true ways that worked for my son! As a way to easily remember these activities, I have made an acronym with the first letter of each activity–ROYGBIV, the colors of the rainbow.I originally posted this a while back as a guest post for Blessed Beyond a Doubt. It has been revamped and updated for sharing here. To see the full original post with extra teaching tips, visit here.
Take a hike! What better way to learn colors than to look in nature?! Colors are everywhere–green leaves, blue skies, even red stop signs! This is a great activity to use when reviewing colors. Get some fresh air and exercise while you are at it! Collect some of the items you find and used them when you do the “Group” activity below. Tips for Going on Walks with Toddlers–Stoplight!
Sing along! Grab a few instruments, turn up your creativity, and make up a fun song with your child’s help about colors. Something like: “Blue is the color of the sky and sea, the color of a blue jay and a blueberry.” Once your child is more familiar with the color, you can include tests by adding in a color that doesn’t match such as: “A bluebird is blue and a duckling is too…no, a duckling isn’t blue; it’s yellow!” You can even use this activity to introduce the next color you will be working on.
Eat it up! Serve up a plate full of food in the color of the day on dishes that match. Since it is pretty difficult to find proteins in colors like purple and green and I don’t recommend adding food dye to everything, I suggest using this activity for a snack time and you can add a few things to the main meal of the day. Take advantage of this activity to encourage your child to try new foods and eat healthy vegetables and fruits! My son actually ate everything he usually would turn down. For more fun, have your child create a colorful dish with you.
Sort and match. Gather colorful items around your home and have your child sort out the color of the day into a pile. Blocks, candies, and crayons work great for this. You can also decorate colored folders then fill them with cut-outs of construction paper, magazine photos, and stickers that match.
Scrub-a-dub-dub! My son loves taking baths, so we take advantage of this time to help him “soak in” some learning activities. You can purchase colored bath fizzies in yellow, red, and blue to color the water then have your child grab a pile of matching bath toys! Since the bath fizzies make you mix colors, as your child becomes more familiar with colors, you can use this to teach primary, secondary and tertiary colors. See also Preschool Math in the Bath and Nuby Bath Letters Review and Learning Activities.
Get crafty! Set out all types of art supplies in different textures and hues. Cut, color, paint and glue to make cards, frames, or other projects! As you see in the picture above, I used this to teach my son how to mix white and red to make pink!
Explore and experiment with science! Dye vinegar and add a little baking soda then watch it errupt! Add food coloring to water and stick in a stalk of celery or a carnation to watch how plants soak up water to grow.
When completing these activities, remember to repeat, repeat, repeat. Saying the color’s name and pointing at it over and over may seem boring, but it will really help that color stick in your child’s head.
Do these activities in one week (one color a day) or give each color a full week of activities! I recommend giving each color a week and doing one activity a day.
As you add in new colors, remember to review the previously-learned colors. I recommend beginning with primary colors, work into the secondary colors, and then add brown, black, white, gray, and pink. You can also choose to work in ROYGBIV order.
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