Teaching your child to identify colors can be a daunting task due to their complexity.
However, if done with creativity and patience, both parents and children can enjoy having fun while learning about colors at the same time.
1. Organize “Color weeks”
There are up to 10000000 colors existing, but the average human can only recognize 11 basic colors.
Even so, attempting to teach all these colors at the same time to your kids will be too much of an ambition.
Take it easy, and tackle the color-learning journey day by day.
To do this, you can apply the concept of “Color weeks”.
Each week, your goal is to help kids master a color.
Name the week as “Blue week”, “Red week”, or “Yellow week”, then place a big sticker with that printing everywhere for 7 days.
Then, make sure you try your best to introduce same-colored objects to your child.
If it is “Green week”, encourage your child to wear green clothes and play with green toys.
You can also serve them green foods, or green candies.
Extensive exposure to a single color can help reinforce your kid’s color recognition.
Even when you aim at teaching your kid one color at a time, it is still possible to do the color comparison.
For example, if it is within “Purple week” and you encounter two different colored objects, you can tell kids:
“This one is purple. But that one is not purple.”
This way, you can help kids both learn about the target color and other colors as well.
2. Use coloring books
There are plenty of coloring books designed for small children who just start to learn about colors.
Make sure you buy a high-quality set of crayons and some age-appropriate coloring books.
Avoid overly complicated books that might confuse kids, and stick to the most basic ones.
You can guide your kids through the coloring process, and explain which color needs to be in which section.
After your kids understand the fundamentals, you can let their imagination run wild and allow them to color everything as they wish.
3. Play color-matching games
Nothing helps to accelerate your kid’s learning speed than some practical exercises, like the matching games!
There are many variations of this game, and you can pick out which version that your kids seem to be interested in.
- Version 1: Prepare two sets of flashcards. The first set contains the names of different colors, while the other set includes pictures of objects of a particular color. Present two sets to your kids, and ask them to match a card from set 1 to a compatible card from set 2.
- Version 2: Prepare a lot of objects with different colors in front of your kids. Take out a red object, and challenge your kids to find at least three objects with identical colors.
- Version 3: Prepare three colored blocks and three cards with their names on it. Place the name card on each block, but purposely mix them up. For instance, you will put a card written Black on a white block. Then, tell your kids it is their mission to rearrange the cards to the correct place.
- Version 4: Prepare three to five empty boxes. On each box, stick a tag with color names like Blue or Pink. Then, collect as many colorful objects as you can. Put the boxes at each a few meters away from your kid. Set a timer of around one minute, and dare your kids to throw the objects into the box whose name tag fits the color of the said items.
After each round of the game, even if your kids perform poorly, do not forget to give them some sweet treats as an incentive.
Not only are these activities beneficial for your kid’s color recognition, but they will also fuel an element of competitiveness and fun.
Thus, your kids are less likely to feel bored during the color lessons.
These matching games are relatively easy to organize, so it will not take you much time.
For the best effect, you should host these games at least twice a week.
4. Serve kids colorful foods
Daily meals are a good place for you to incorporate color lessons.
If your kids are trying to tell the difference between blue and green, serve them a dish of boiled broccoli, and give them a blue ice cream afterward.
Or, in case your kids constantly mix up red and orange, consider cooking them some slices of carrots and tomatoes.
Being able to touch, to feel, to smell, and then to taste these brightly colored dishes will activate all five senses of the kids.
Thus, your kids stand a better chance of remembering these different colors.
And sometimes, it does not have to be all about eating stuff.
Ask your kids to help you with the food preparation as well.
For example. you can tell them to pick out “the brown mushroom” or “the yellow noodles”.
This way, kids will have to actively think about which object to pick, or which color that their parents are describing.
In other words, your child can still learn about colors, while having fun in the kitchen at the same time.
5. Let kids pick out their own clothes in the dressing game
A kid tends to have extremely colorful clothing items.
You can take advantage of this feature and help them reinforce their color recognition ability through their own wardrobe.
The rule of the dressing game is easy.
First, you need to layout different pieces of clothes and accessories like belts, hats, or shoes.
Then, start naming your requests to the kids.
“Now, let’s find a yellow skirt.”
“Mix a green shirt with a pair of black slippers.”
“Put on a blue coat outside a white dress.”
To make things even more challenging, you can put on a particular theme, like “Princess” or “Cowboy”, so that your kids feel like they need to dress for the occasion.
Or you can combine the dressing game with the Color week if you want your child to focus on a specific shade.
If you are in the Red week, ask your kid to put on at least one red item before they go out.
6. Compare identical objects with different colors
To emphasize on color recognition, the best way is to use identical objects.
Sure, you can use a purple rectangular and a pink circle when teaching kids to differentiate between these two colors.
But if possible, using two similar shapes will lessen the distraction and help your kids focus more on the colors.
7. Take advantage of the surrounding area
Color lessons will be much more interesting if you turn to everything around you for help.
For example, if you and your kids are going for a walk in the park, help them identify different shades of green.
“Look, the grass below us is bright green.”
“Oh, and the leaves on that tree over there are darker green.”
Or, you can come up with a spontaneous color quiz to test your kid’s understanding.
“Hey honey, do you see that giant rooftop? What color is it?”
“You love cars, do you? What do you think about the car parking across the way? What color is it?”
By actively pointing out how colors always exist around us, you will help kids distinguish these shades easier.
8. Sing along color songs.
Since kids are more receptive to new concepts if presented in a creative way, you can try turning on color songs and allow your kids to emerge in the world of music.
First, you need to browse through Youtube. There are a variety of color songs there, so make sure you select the catchiest one.
Then, put it on a big viewing screen like your laptop or the TV.
Your kids are not gonna learn if they have to stare at your smartphone and try to tell the difference between pink and red.
When the prep is done, let’s stand with your kids in front of the screen, then start to sing along.
Music is always a creative approach for your kids, as they provide better audible stimulations.
Remember to put the song on repeat for a few times per day, and let the lyrics slowly sink in.
9. Play the sock-matching games
The sock-matching is a combination between the color-matching and the dressing game.
All you have to do is to mix all pairs of socks, then place them in front of your kids.
Ask your kids to collect two socks that belong together.
You can start easy by using single-colored socks.
Gradually, let’s update the game by using socks with multiple decorative patterns.
10. Make the best use out of color-learning mobile applications.
There are multiple color learning apps you can download onto your smartphone or tablet for free.
For example, the Color & Shapes allows kids to do the painting, play matching games, or to collect objects of the same color.
Or you can try out the Laugh & Learn, where kids can actively learn about colors, shapes, and listen to songs designed to make lessons more interactive.
Learning and teaching about colors have never been easy, especially if your kids are still a few months old.
However, the earlier you target color recognition, the better your kids will be at distinguishing colors when they grow up.
All you have to do is to be creative, patient, and ready to have fun with your babies!