Colour identification is an important part of a child’s development. Here are 31 ‘learning about colours’ activities your kids will love.
They are great for teaching colours to toddlers and preschoolers, and many are still suitable for kindergarten kids.
Why Is It Important to Learn Colours?
Learning the colours is a milestone in early childhood and represents a child’s cognitive understanding.
Exposing children to and teaching them about the colours develops their visual perception – which is the ability of the brain to correctly interpret what the eyes see. This is an important pre-reading skill.
How Do I Teach My Child Colours?
Colours are a part of daily life and are all around us. The best way for children to learn them is to experience them and play with them.
The concept of colours can’t be taught in one sitting and kids need lots of experiences to learn them.
Make use of everyday opportunities to talk about colour and to point it out in the environment. Ask your child to pass you the pink bunny and the blue hat. Point out that he is drawing with the purple crayon.
Try not to default to worksheets at too young an age – there are many more meaningful ways to teach colour in a way that will imprint in children’s memories.
Colour games and activities are a great way for kids to learn the colours as they are hands-on, interactive and fun.
Colour Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Here are a few ideas to try at home or at school.
1. I Spy With My Little Eye
Play a game of I Spy With My Little Eye. Identify objects by colour and add in more details for clues:
“I spy with my little eye something blue that you wear on your head.”
2. Colour Collage
Make a colour collage by using paper tearings in only one colour. For young toddlers provide the paper tearings, but let older kids find and tear the colour in a magazine or set of coloured papers.
Use different collage materials for this, not just paper.
3. Sorting and Grouping
Teach kids to see the differences in colours by doing sorting activities.
Sort beads, buttons, blocks or coloured counters into separate baskets, containers or egg boxes.
4. Matching Cards
Play a classic memory game of matching the pairs of cards, using only plain-coloured cards. They are easy to make – you just need two of every colour.
Get your own memory game cards by downloading the FREE set of printables at the end of the post.
5. Park the Cars
Play with cars in various colours and make little parking garages out of boxes or paper. You could even draw them on the paving with chalk.
Make each parking spot a different colour and get kids to park the car in the corresponding colour.
6. Object Sort
Do a colour sort with mixed objects. Collect household objects and toys that have one distinct colour and sort them into groups, according to their colours.
7. Label the Environment
Make small coloured labels with the name of the colour written on them and place these in familiar environments like a classroom or bedroom, labelling the most common items and spaces.
8. Bean Bag Toss
Incorporate movement into learning by playing with bean bags. Throw different coloured beanbags randomly at kids and as they try to catch them, they must shout out the colour before they touch them.
9. Colour Hunt
Go on an indoor or outdoor colour hunt. Give kids a basket and allocate a different colour to each. They must go in search of items of that colour and place them in their basket.
10. Listen and Draw Picture
‘Listen and draw’ pictures are great not only for developing listening skills but also for teaching concepts such as shape and colour.
Tell kids to:
- Draw a green hill.
- Draw a black sheep standing on the green hill.
- Draw a blue flower at the foot of the hill.
Here are some examples of following directions drawing activities.
11. Car Games
Play games in the car to keep kids entertained and learning at the same time. Pick a colour and count how many cars of that colour go past you.
Make a challenge such as seeing if you can reach 20 yellow cars before you get to your destination.
12. Colour Plates
Using a white paper plate and some coloured pegs, draw or paint strokes of the colours around the edges of the plate. Get kids to place the pegs onto the corresponding sections of colour.
You could even make a pattern, such as blue-yellow-yellow-blue-yellow-yellow.
13. Picture Hunt
Do a picture hunt using a magazine or any children’s books. Challenge kids to find images in their books of various colours.
For example, point out all the green items you can in this Dr Seuss book, or cut out all the blue items from this magazine.
14. Tissue Paper Tearing
Tearing is an important fine motor activity.
Provide tissue paper in a few colours and get kids to tear it up and create a picture with the tearings and some glue.
15. Colour Mixing
For a colour mixing activity, provide the three primary colours – red, yellow and blue – and mix them together to see the following combinations:
- Red and yellow make orange.
- Blue and yellow make green.
- Red and blue make purple.
Introduce kids to the concept of shades of colours by adding white or black to make them lighter or darker.
16. Matching Socks
Luckily for parents, all kinds of domestic chores provide great learning opportunities. Give your kids the pile of socks to match according to colours and patterns.
17. Sort the Laundry Basket
Don’t stop there. As you fold the laundry, ask your child to sort all the unfolded laundry into piles by colour.
18. Fruit and Veg Sort
Had a trip to the market? Get your kids to categorize the fruit and vegetables by colour.
While you are cooking, involve your kids with requests such as “please fetch me three orange carrots and that packet of green baby marrows.”
19. Songs about Colours
Sing songs about the colours. Here are lots of fun rainbow songs to teach your kids.
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20. Books about Colours
Read your kids books about colours or simply read colourful books and discuss the colours of the characters or objects.
Books such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See and Dog’s Colorful Day are a hit with toddlers.
21. Colour Bracelet
Make a fun colour bracelet with cereal loops or macaroni dyed with food colouring. Make it all one colour or make a pattern with two or three colours.
22. Colour Patterns
Teach kids to follow patterns by drawing or building colour patterns with objects such as blocks, beads or counters.
For younger kids, use only two colours in a pattern and increase it for older kids.
23. Light Table
Place transparent coloured objects or materials such as plastic or cellophane onto a light table and let kids experiment with them and explore the properties of colour.
24. Sensory Stations
This can be a great way to incorporate colour into sensory play. Set up stations with coloured rice and coloured materials or use some of these sensory station ideas.
25. Bathtub Fun
Bring colour into bathtub fun by dropping in ice blocks (coloured with food colouring), watching coloured bath fizz balls disintegrate or letting kids draw with bath crayons (like these).
26. Coloured Playdough
Let kids play with playdough in various colours. They can also mix the playdough colours together or mix food colouring to make a new colour when making a batch of homemade playdough.
27. Finger Painting
Finger painting is a fun sensory activity for kids that teaches how colours mix together. While mixing the paints on the page, they naturally mix together, revealing new colours.
Be deliberate and only offer two colour paints so kids can see the colours mixing.
28. Pass the Parcel
Play a game of Pass the Parcel, wrapping each layer in a different colour of gift wrap or tissue paper. As each layer is removed, the child unwrapping it must name the colour.
29. Categories Game
The categories game is a fun circle game and you can use it to teach any concept.
Pick a colour and go around the circle, naming things that are typically of that colour. Each child must add one item to the list, without repeating any.
Or, try another variation with older kids and do a round of naming colours. Kids will start with the easier colours and then need to remember less common colours such as peach, magenta, maroon, etc.
30. Broken Telephone
Play a round of the Telephone Game by using colours as the phrases to whisper. Use phrases such as light blue, violet and deep red to make it more challenging.
31. Make a Rainbow
How about a little science experiment? Teach children about light by making your own rainbow.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these experiences for exploring colours with toddlers and preschoolers!
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