Parents (and grandparents) start making lists of activities this time of year to help them get through the long winter school holidays with the kids.
One thing you can bet on – there will be many cries of “we are bored mom” and “there is nothing to do.”
Now, you certainly don’t want the kids to spend all their time with their eyes glued to some of other screen. They need to be kept busy and kept active. In this two-part article we will deal with toddlers and colours and then with fun activities for older kids.
It is always a great time to begin teaching toddlers and preschooler colours. For most kids, their ability to recognize colors develops between the ages of 18 months and 2 years. We know toddlers are curious and learning everything about the big world they live in. They’re like little sponges, who will absorb all the information you give them.
Babies as young as 18 months may not be able to communicate well verbally, but can easily point to different colours once they are introduced to them. Learning and identifying is considered a milestone in their cognitive development. We know that being able to distinguish colours helps build the cognitive pathways between visual cues and words. Therefore, helping children learn colours is essential at a very early age.
Remember, it’s important for a child to start hearing words often in order to remember them.
One of the best ways to do this is by colour matching (putting the red piece on the red spot). This is one of the simplest forms of learning colors. It may occur first, along with recognizing and choosing colors when asked for them (handing you the red piece when you say give me the red piece). Lastly comes naming colors (being able to say red when asked).
Why Teaching Colours to Toddlers Seems Complicated
As your young one’s ability to recognise different colours begins to they also start to notice differences in shapes, texture, and size.
Before you begin to teach colours to toddlers, it is crucial that you understand your child’s learning process. Especially with abstract concepts, such as colours, kids need to have accumulated a lot of information before they can understand colours are. Before the concept of colour is understood, the learning might be as simple as ‘blue is blue’. Kids cannot differentiate between different shades, such as shades of blue – light blue and navy blue; neither do they have the verbal skills to explain the difference.
Green is the Colour
As kids begin learning what each colour is called, they also need to understand what each colour represents. For example, if you show your child a green apple and say the colour is green, he may associate the shape of an apple with the word green and may remember it as such. Therefore, you will also have to show him an apple that is not green, so it can act as a negative example to show the difference.
With more examples which show that green is not the shape, not the size, not the texture and not the name of an object, kids can grasp what green is.
Therefore, every time you show your kid something green, but with a different quality to it, his understanding of the concept gets refined. Although it takes time, teaching colours can be easy as you can use everyday objects and different images to teach your child all about colours.
How to Teach Colours with Everyday Activities
The key to your child learning colors is over-exposure. Just give them tons of opportunities to hear you say the colors names, be asked the color’s names, and see them often.
Don’t overwhelm your toddler with too many colors at once. Focus on two at a time and then add more in as they become familiar with those.
Use fun, simple objects for learning colors and counting. Toddlers love little pompoms because of their softness and they’ll be excited to learn with them.
Let the kids group and sort them by color. If your child is just learning colors, naming the colors of each pompom works great too.
Colour with Crayons and Markers
Colouring is a great skill for toddlers to develop fine and visual motor skills (coordinating their hands and eyes to perform a task). Have your child use crayons to scribble on paper and point out and label the colors that they use.
Kids learn best in the context of their everyday environment. Point out the contrasting colors at:
- mealtimes (green beans, yellow corn, red raspberries)
- during dressing (blue shirt, black pants)
- during playtime (red blocks, blue balls)
- outdoors (blue sky, green grass, pink flower)
Sensory experiences where children are actively touching, tasting, hearing or smelling things are one of the best ways to teach your kids new concepts. Your toddler will love trying out their artistic capabilities by rubbing their hands on paper with finger paint.
By just getting three primary colors (blue, red, yellow) of finger paint, you can mix them until you make secondary colors (green, purple, orange).
Have your toddler rub their hands and fingers in the paint and just smudge it onto paper. Talk about the colors they are using and ask them what color is on their hands and on the paper.
At Household Plastic we stock everything you need to make your toddler a colour expert! We have finger paints, pom poms, pipe cleaners, crayons, markets, colouring books and a wide range of educational toys.