How Do You Teach Children About Colors?
A Useful Tool for Math, Language, and Science!
Name the colors! Imagine what a young child’s mind processes as he begins learning about colors. He is learning to identify and make objects in the environment and distinguish between human faces and voices. Now he has to consider shades and hues of color! It is quite impressive!
Learning Color Names
When kids learn about colors, it helps them to be more specific when describing an item. However, learning color names is complicated!
At any one time, people, objects, and nature … everything in our environment … can have varying hues. An object or animal has a specific name and shape (e.g., a cat and a lion), BUT … what does a child identify as blue? (i.e., the multiple hues of the sky? water? One of these two blue containers? The blue on a package? A piece of clothing?) This can be very confusing to a young child!
Learning about Colors is a Science Task that involves Visual Discrimination!
Learning about colors and combining them is a great science task, but it is also a Visual Discrimination Activity. Identifying may take some time because the children have not established the idea of primary colors. Talk about what you see. During storytime or outdoor play, say things like: “The bear is brown.” “I see a tall tree with green leaves.” “Can you find the red ball?” Sometimes it helps to name the object and then add the descriptive word. Also, sorting activities, like matching …without naming objects… is a good visual discrimination activity. Be patient. Lots of repetition and practice helps… but naming colors is a very complicated task!
Learning about Colors: Find the Matching Color
- Ask the kids to find the things that match using objects, crayons, markers, etc.
- Match a crayon to the color word. Draw two pictures where the main color matches a specific word. Encourage creative thinking and reflection. Say, “Tell me about your work.”
- Encourage the kids to orally add color words to a descriptive sentence, (e.g. We have a big dog. He is brown.) as they learn more about colors.
- Read color books like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” by Eric Carle.
Peg the Matching Color – 3 pegs per card
Using the “peg cards,” … find three objects that match the main word and picture. Talk about how orange and red are two different colors. Ask, “Why?” “Tell me, why did you not pick the octopus? How is it different?”
Learning about Colors: Sort the colors!
Sing a Color Song
Check out this resource!
Get Match the Color In PRINT Letters OR SASSOON Font
Learning About Colors: Science at work!
Eyedropper, food coloring, and a white paper towel.
- Mix some red, yellow, and blue food coloring with water individually. Give your child an eyedropper and some white paper towel. Let your child use the eyedropper and experiment with one color at a time. What happens when it goes on the paper towel? Say, “Look at the big sppot that is blue!” “I like the red splatter.”
- While she is learning about color, encourage your child to “experiment”. What happens if you mix red and blue? (purple) What if blue and yellow combine? (green) Look, I made orange with red and yellow!
Whole milk, tin pie pan, ‘Dawn’ dish soap, and liquid food coloring.
- Put some milk in the bottom of a tin pie pan.
- Drop some food coloring into different areas of the milk.
- Add Dawn dish soap to 3 spots about equal distance apart around the outside of the dish
- Watch the dish soap cut through the fat of the milk and blend the colors together!
- Place objects around the room.
- Go on a classroom search. Come back to the circle. Sort the objects. Count how many there are in each group.
- Make a favorite color graph.
- Sort objects by various attributes.
Find or Name that Color
- While you are in a store, talk about the items you are purchasing. “I need that red box of crackers.” “Can you find green apples?” “Thank you for finding the blue socks.”
- While safely walking through a parking lot, ask the kids to “Find 2 cars that are the same color.” “Can you find a car that’s the same color as our car?”
- As your kids are getting dressed, ask, “What is your favorite color?” Can you find a shirt, shorts, or socks that match?” “Find your brown socks.” “Please put your blue shorts into the hamper.”
- With a box of crayons, ask your kids to draw on a blank piece of paper. Talk about colors, shapes, and lines. Find three crayons that are shades of (green) and then add a fourth crayon (blue). Ask a child to sort the crayons to find the odd color.
- Play with your preschooler as you do these 6 activities for learning about colors.
Coloring has long been a pre-school activity, with many adults now coloring as mindful meditation. Whether your child colors “within the lines” or adds random marks to the page… he is expressing himself and may even be caught up in the moment!