The world of a toddler is extra colorful. Pre-kids your floor was brown wood or beige carpet. Now that there’s a tiny human toddling around, you probably have a sectioned off baby area layered with bright, foam letter tiles. Mom-life might still mean you’re hoping to wear the darkest shade of black in your closet. But, kid clothes are often anything but dull. Naming the colors in their clothes as they dress each morning is a great, simple way to start teaching colors to your sweet little chunk.
However, there are also some really fun activities and games you can initiate to help teach your toddler their color basics. From naming to sorting and even blending, these coloring activities will turn your little poop machine into a Picasso in no time. Got an older kid at home, try these fun coloring games for kids.
On the surface, coloring seems like just another fun thing to do to occupy a kid’s time, right? Giving your toddlers time to color in a gigantic coloring book or from online printables is actually beneficial beyond filling long days at home. Among the benefits that come from coloring are: teaching colors, expanding imagination (a pink elephant), solidifying reality (a grey elephant), improving attention span and improved concentration. Coloring even enhances motor skills by giving your littles ample time to learn how to hold the pencil they’ll need as they start school.
Colored Sticker Sorting
Tape (use the blue kind) colored construction paper to the wall or lower cabinets in the kitchen and let your kiddo sort a sheet of stickers. This one is especially great if you need to keep them occupied while you cook. Keep the stickers a few feet from the construction paper and they’ll use up some of their energy, too.
Set out a basket full of small toys or fabric scraps in various colors. Then retrieve that collection of rainbow-colored ikea cups from the cabinet and line them up nearby. Have your toddler pull each toy from the basket (using tongs will boost their hand control) and put it in the matching colored cup.
Just like shows like Sesame Street often focus on a single color at a time, you can do the same thing at home. Maybe Monday is orange day. You can start by wearing an orange (or peach) shirt and dressing your kiddo similarly. Next, try to find foods in the same color palette. Think: Orange slices, Orange pepper slices, gold fish, carrots, etc. Collect all their orange-ish colored stuffies and invite them to a tea party or send your toddler on scavenger hunts to collect other orange toys or match orange shades.
Color-themed Sensory Bins
What fun artifacts can you stash inside a bin of yellow rice or bowl of lemon Jell-o? Think tiny construction equipment, LEGO pieces, a silk sunflower or saffron-colored plastic spoon.
Okay. So, that’s only the primary colors. But, what a fun way to start for a color activity, right? After you learn primary colors, maybe you can make your own Twister board with some complimentary colored construction paper and some double-stick tape.
Color Scavenger Hunt
Similar to color collecting, a color-themed scavenger hunt activity works on an even bigger scale for your kids. Give your toddler a “list” of colors. Consider just scribbling a rainbow of colors on a paper, then writing the names of the colors on top so non-readers can see the word but still operate without knowing it. They’ll aso need a big basket. Turn them loose and let them find each color on their “list.” You could also play this game while rolling around the grocery store together.
Shaving Cream Color Mixing
In a simple zippered sandwich back, put in a few squirts of shaving cream. In one corner, drop in a few drops of food coloring in a single primary color and in the other, add a mixable color. Zip the bag shut (consider taping the top for an extra seal) and let your toddler squish around the shaving foam until the colors blend together and make a new color.
DIY Kool-Aid Play-Doh Color Activity
Kool-Aid has a nearly endless list of flavors which means the colors of Play-Doh you can make with it are also just as limitless. Just the act of making each color is a great way to introduce the color names. You can also try mixing colored doughs together (if you can mentally handle it) to create new colors.
Paint Chip Matching Busy Bags
Next time you’re at your local hardware store, pick up a collection of paint chips (two of each shade you pick up). Once you’re home, one of each color onto a clothes pin and put them in a busy bag with the deck of paint chips all mixed up. During your next long car ride or trip to church, let your little one match the colors on the clothes pins to the loose paint chips. They can clamp them together, which will also help with their dexterity.
Dot markers are so cool! They aren’t great for coloring things in, but can work well for outlining things. This color activity requires you to consider the colors on-hand. With the color green, you would write out the word “GREEN.” Then, have your toddler leave dots along the lines in the letters. You could also consider printing out a simple line drawing picture of a turtle. Afterward, have them follow the lines with their dot marker. To make it more challenging, have an activity for each color. Let your toddler try to figure out the right color to match the picture of each paper.
Play With Colorful Food
We’re talking broccoli, and Granny Smith apples. Carrots and oranges. Strawberries and watermelon. This could be as simple as grouping groceries together by color after a supermarket run. Or why not take them to the grocery store — this way you don’t have to buy any extra veggies or fruits you don’t want to. This is a great way of teaching kids names of all different kinds of produce.
Play Doh ABCs
Kids love all things Play Doh. Parents love educational games. So why not combine the two together in an educational game that allows your kids to sculpt letters from Play Doh, all while working the small muscles in their hands. This should be a fun one to play with your little ones and should distract them for at least 30 minutes of fun.
Chalk Drawing on the Pavement
If it’s warm enough to go outside, then it’s time to bust out the sidewalk chalk bucket and color from morning to night. Kids love wielding a big piece of chalk and drawing bigger works of art than they could on paper. This is a fantastic time to teach kids how to play tic tac toe, draw a larger than life (for them) rainbow, a flower garden, or see how water affects the chalk as they color. It’s also a great way to get the kids out the house and enjoy that Vitamin D and fresh air.
Color Mixing Station
If your future Picasso has taken a liking to painting and wants to know more about the relationship between colors, why not teach them all about how two colors can make a brand new color that they didn’t have before. You’ll need to brush up on this yourself first and remember your mixing guide from school, but it’s pretty simple. Start at the beginning with yellow plus blue makes green, white and red make pink, and so on until you’ve given your little artist a good base with which to practice.