You might think that because I’m a graphic designer, my little ones would be better than most at color selection and identification. If you’re picturing my three year old shouting out “chartreuse” or “magenta” as she plays with my Pantone swatches you couldn’t be further from how it actually goes. In her mind, if it’s not pink and purple, it’s just not right. She often looks over my files while I’m working and tells me to change the colors (to her favorites of course). So even though she’s not what I’d consider a color master, I am more than thoroughly impressed with how well she understands colors for a 3.5 year old. These 3 activities have proved to be key to her identifying colors correctly and knowing how colors work.
Interactive books about color. We picked up some of our now favorite books from our local library on color. Although we love the Pantone Colors board book, the interactive color books Mix It Up and Press Here by Herve Tullet have become our all-time favorites. They’re read multiple times a day and I often find her working her way through the book herself as well. I love that the books requires her to act, encouraging her to use her pointer finger to mix the colors, make them light and dark, and tap dots to make more appear or move.
The Day the Crayons Quit is another new favorite. It’s more of a story, but it encourages plenty of creativity and we love that each of the crayon colors are given their own personality. I’ve noticed that she’s even more attentive to coloring these days and trying out her imagination on paper, which makes her momma proud.
Invest in a good set of watercolors & paint with them! Up until now we’ve only purchased watercolors from the dollar store. That’s not a bad option but there are only 8 colors at most in those trays and the colors aren’t all that vibrant. I purchased a set of Crayola watercolors with 24 colors for around $5. You’ll find a similar set here. Best decision ever. What started out with me trying to get her to leave my expensive colors and watercolor paper alone turned into she and I painting together. She’s learning a new skill and working on pairing colors together; and to be honest, she’s got some colors that I use frequently and the vibrant hues are much better than I expected they would be for the price. If you’ve got an aspiring artist, paints like these, would be a great investment.
Make your own Color Clipper Game. You’ll find a variety of ways to do this on Pinterest. We made it an outing, and I actually had my toddler pick out the paint swatches at our local home improvement store. (I’d recommend asking in the paint department if it’s ok to pick out several swatches for this – they were more than happy to let us, but we were also purchasing some items that trip as well.) I had my daughter pick paint swatches to “create a rainbow” and then we added in white, black, and pink as well.
All you’ll need are clothespins, your paint swatches, scissors and some glue. Simply cut off the names of the paint colors, laminate the pieces, and glue small swatches onto clothespins. The whole project only costs a few dollars at most. I was going to count the project a success if she could clip colors of the same hue anywhere to the card, but I was shocked when she quickly learned to match exact hues. Plus this activity is a double win – she’s practicing her pincer grasp and hand eye coordination as well as her colors and matching skills.
What are your favorite ways to teach your toddler colors?