How to Teach Colors to Your Child

A preschooler is always eager to learn. One of the first things we teach them is different colors. You can teach colors along with other things like shapes, numbers, and counting, but starting with the different colors of the rainbow creates a solid foundation.


Here are a few parenting tips on teaching colors to your child:

Color Association

The easiest way to teach colors is by association. Red is for apples, firetrucks, and stop signs. Orange is for orange juice, highway cones, and carrots. The list goes on. If you don't have some of the objects you would normally use, don't worry. Blocks or drawings will work just as well. Color association works well for children who find it easier to learn when they can put two ideas together. By attaching the color to an object it improves their ability to comprehend and retain the information.

Multi-Sensory Activities

Multi-sensory activities can also improve a child's ability to learn. Using their eyes to see color is just one aspect of learning. You can also use smells to associate colors with objects. The smell of lemon will bring to mind the color yellow. Touch is also a way of teaching your child colors. Tearing up pieces of colored tissue paper and gluing the respective color into the area where it belongs on a picture will also help to teach colors that are associated with specific objects.

The Rainbow Plate

One of the easiest ways to teach colors and good health practices is to use food. This can start at an early age and will eventually become second nature. Purple plums, red apples, oranges, yellow lemons, green beans, and blueberries are just a few of the things you can use to create a “rainbow plate”. Eating foods from every color of the rainbow helps to ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need each day.

Coloring Books

This is the simplest way to get your preschooler to learn colors. All you need to do is guide them with the color crayon they are using for each section. 

Modelling Clay

Activities involving clay modeling is an excellent tool to teach your preschooler the concept of colors. Especially for those who enjoy being hands-on, clay modeling can be highly engaging. Children can be encouraged to build different things out of the same color and learn the difference between them. They can also mix different colors to get a new color.

Color Matching Games

These matching games are a great way to teach the concept of primary colors to your preschooler. Begin by cutting out small card-like shapes out of paper or cardboard and coloring them various colors with repeating ones.  Make as many colored cards as you need and place them on a table or floor. Here is where the fun begins!  Ask your child to pick out any matching pairs of colors until there are none left. You can also use colored balls or blocks for these games. 

Color Fishing Game

This is also an exciting way to teach colors to your preschooler. Cut out fish shapes from cardboard sheets of different colors and stick a magnetic strip on the backside of each fish.  Then, make a fishing rod by tying a long strand of yarn to a stick and attaching a small magnet to the end of the string.   Now use the fishing rod to catch fishes of the same color and make a game out of it. Congrats, your child is now a fisherman!

By using the items you have available and incorporating food play, you can teach your preschooler the colors of the rainbow in a short period of time. You will also be encouraging healthy habits that will serve them for the rest of their life.


Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

This entry was posted in Child Learning and tagged Kids LearningPreschool

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