I’ve had some people ask me when their child should learn the colors. 18 months is a pretty good general rule of thumb, but remember that every child is different. When Little Bear was young, I constantly tried to teach him his colors and I worked really hard on the activities we did. For months it seemed like nothing was teaching him. Then, one day, he just got it. It literally seemed over night to me. I realized that he actually had been learning what I was teaching him, it just took a little time for it to click. He has been that way with almost all of his milestones so I have learned to just teach him what I can, then to just sit back and let him figure it out.
Smiley Man has really enjoyed getting to learn about colors, but I certainly wouldn’t say he has them down yet. He is 21 months old, but I’m not worried about it. Teaching a toddler colors is mostly about exposure and making it fun. I’m sure Smiley will have his colors down in a month or two. Then, we can move from games that will teach my toddler colors, to games that will teach shapes. :)
This week, my sweet toddler was learning his colors with sensory bins! I was really surprised at how much fun this was. I kept having to remind Smiley Man to keep the objects (especially the rice) over the container, but he loved playing with the sensory bins. I can definitely see this being a very helpful tool for him to learn the colors.
We only did one color each day. I made a few large sensory bins, but I also made some mini-sensory bins in some old diaper wipes containers. We started each sensory bin with a base of colored pasta or colored rice or both.
Here is a great recipe to color rice and pasta using rubbing alcohol. Here is another recipe just for rice that uses vinegar. Here is one more colored rice recipe that uses hand sanitizer. Finally, here is a recipe just for pasta that uses rubbing alcohol.
Once the base was complete, I added in all of the items in the green bag from our color scavenger hunt that we did last week. I did add in a few extra items just to make the bin feel full.
Next was playtime! Smiley Man really liked pulling out all of the items and showing them to me. I would say what each item was and I would point out the color. “That is a green crayon. Look how nice the color is. That is green.” “That is a green pompom. That one is light green. Can you find a dark green pompom?” I don’t know how much Smiley understood, but I kept repeating the color over and over.
Smiley Man also really liked scooping the rice and pasta into the green bowls and letting them fall out of the bowl back into the bin.
In retrospect, I wish I had done the sensory bins as our very first color activity. I think having a separate bin for each color has really helped Smiley Man understand the concept of color. It isn’t a big deal either way, but if I had to do it again, I would start with the sensory bins. We have lots more color games and activities, so be sure to check them out.