One of the first academic based skills our toddlers develop an interest in are colors.
Think about it! Colors are all around us, and many times kids choose their favorite toys based on it’s color.
We can start introducing colors at a very young age by using them in our every day language. I do this with Kade now, and he’s only 7 months. I’ll say things like “You’re playing with the red truck” or “Here’s the blue ball.”
Using colors in our everyday language is how you introduce the concept through an encouraging environment and begin to develop an interest in learning colors.
Related: Color Run: A Toddler Color Activity
Once your toddler begins to show an interest in colors, you can introduce simple color sorting activities. Start with only sorting 2 colors and build on as your child becomes proficient at just sorting two.
This is an activity that you can introduce even before your child knows the names or is able to identify each color. The only prerequisite for color sorting is being able to identify differences.
1. Lay out two piles of objects. I would start with only 2 or 3 objects in each pile or color.
2. Begin by introducing each object. This is done to build vocabulary and introduce the child to each color. Pick up each object and say “This is a red ball.” Sit it back down and continue through each object.
3. Now point to each pile and state the color only. “These things are red.”
4. Mix the piles together and model sorting. I like to use buckets that are the same color as the objects we are sorting. You can also use pieces of construction paper.
5. Pick up each object and say “The car is red. It goes in the red bucket (or on the red paper).”
6. When first starting, pull out all of one color first then the other. Once your child gets a little better at sorting, you can model by picking up different colors each time.
7. Let your child have a turn.
Remember don’t force it. In a child-led environment, we want to show/model the activity then give the lead to our child. They may do it just like you modeled, they may choose to do it a different way, or they may choose to not do it.
All 3 options should be accepted by you. Remember you child is learning through EVERYTHING they do, even if it’s not what we intended.
This color sorting activity works on broadening vocabulary, identifying colors and differences, and sorting. If using a bucket, this activity works on hand-eye coordination as well.