Teaching your kids colors

Game Pieces and DiceGrowing up I was always the RED game piece. Why? Well, it’s my favorite color and my sister was always the blue game piece. Our world is full of color and we often describe objects by color. Recognizing, learning and naming colors is an important part of a young child’s development.

Learning colors is a developmental milestone. Most children learn their colors in their preschool years. This coincides kids’ ability to notice similarities and differences between textures, shapes and sizes. When a child learns his/her colors, he/she can begin to connect visual clues and words.

Learning colors

Children learn colors in three stages – matching, identifying and naming.

  • Matching colors. Match objects that are the same color.
  • Identifying colors. Which block is yellow?
  • Naming colors. What color is this?

Tips for teaching colors

Colorful close up of crayonsUse playful everyday experiences to teach your child colors. Your child may learn the names of colors quickly, but they may also use the same color name for different colors. Children need experiences to learn the concept of color and its meaning. For example consider the many shades of blue, which you and your child can explore in the current Alice C. Sabatini Gallery exhibit BLUE.

Activities for learning colors

  • boy playing with colorful blocksMake a game of picking up toys by color. This works really well with blocks.
  • Play “I Spy” –“I spy with my little eye something orange.”
  • At the grocery store, look for all the red objects.
  • Paint with finger paint and talk about the colors.
  • Go on a color scavenger hunt.
  • Use the color word before and after the noun –“this is a green ball” and “this ball is green.”
  • Read books about colors and talk about colors in all picture books.
  • Talk about the colors around you in everyday items – yellow corn, blue jeans, green grass (or brown grass in winter).
  • Add food coloring to snacks or dinner – make blue rice crispy treats or green vanilla pudding.
  • Once your child has the basic colors down add to their vocabulary with new colors (teal, lavender, aquamarine, etc.).

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As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.