teaching-colorsOverview: Is your little one interested in colors. These are our top ten activities for teaching colors.

One of the first things we tend to teach our children is colors. Teaching colors should be fun and hands on. Toddlers need time to explore different colors and the different shades of colors. Today I’m sharing our top 10 hands on ways to teach colors.

Teaching Colors with Scavenger Hunts

I LOVE scavenger hunts. They help develop problem solving skills, gross motor skills, and stamina. But you can also customize each scavenger hunt to learn other skills like colors. The best part is there is no prep work. Just start looking throughout the house, park, or the yard for different colors. For toddlers who do not know their colors, you can color a few circles on a piece of paper, so they have a list of each color.

Teaching Colors with Matching Tot Trays

Matching activities is another easy way to incorporate colors into your toddler’s day. I like setting up tot trays with matching activities. Sicily isn’t very fond of tot trays, so some times these activities are turned into another game that she creates. An example is in the video below.

This was a color matching tot tray, but when I was trying to show Sicily how to do the activity she decided to take the colors for a run. So I went with her idea, and each color had to take a run before she matched them and put them in the basket.

Related: How to Use Tot Trays

Even though this game was not my intention with the tot tray, Sicily still learned her colors and practiced matching. This is child-led learning at it’s best! The best part is she has asked to play this game every day for the past two weeks. If it was a tot tray, she might have done it once or twice.

Teaching Colors with Playdough

Sicily loves making playdough. I love how we can customize the playdough every month to match our theme. We’ve adding peppermint extract to it for Christmas and cinnamon to it for the fall. But we also made playdough with our focus color every month.

Every other day I would lay out the playdough with a simple invitation. Sometimes I would just lay out the playdough, and other times I would add loose parts like glass gems or playdough toys.

Teaching Colors with a Ball Toss Game

I love this game, and it’s great for a rainy day. Cut out a few color circles from construction paper and tape them to the wall. Give your toddler a ball to throw at each color.

Depending on your toddler’s knowledge of colors you can do this activity three ways.

1.Give them color cards to choose from. They choose a color card, say the color, find it on the wall, and throw the ball at it.

2.You yell out a color for them to find and throw the ball at.

3.For toddlers that really know their colors, they can throw the ball at a color then identify it for you.

Teaching Colors by Sorting

A muffin tin with different color loose parts is really all you need for this activity. Cut out a circle for each color from construction paper and tape it in the bottom of each slot in the muffin tin. Lay out the loose part of your choice and let them sort the colors. We have done this activity with glass gems, pompoms, and colored popsicle sticks.

Another fun sorting activity is to lay out a piece of construction paper for each color you want to practice. Then do a scavenger hunt around the house to collect different colors. After the scavenger hunt, have your toddler sort the objects onto the correct piece of construction paper.


Teaching Colors with Painting

I am always looking for an excuse to pull out the paint, and so is Sicily. We first started learning colors consistently when Sicily was 18 months. Every month, we would focus on a different color using The Toddler Experience Curriculum. One of the activities we did was paint with the focus color.

We would mix it up each time too. Some times we would finger paint, others we would paint with a paint brush, and others we would paint with nature like acorns. Once the painting would dry, I would write the color word on the page and hang it up.

We now have every color hung up on our wall, and Sicily uses it to practice her colors. At least once a week, I will find her pointing to each color and saying the name. I’ve even seen her pick up a toy, say the color, then hold it up to the painting of the same color.


Teaching Colors with a Color Hop

This is another super easy activity for a rainy day. Lay out construction paper for each color you want to learn. Again, you can either have color cards or yell out a color. Once a color is chosen, have your toddler hop to that color.

Another way to do this is to turn it into a musical chairs game, but instead it would be a musical colors game. Lay the construction paper in a circle and play some music. Have your toddler hop around the colors, but when the music stops they have to stop and identify the color they landed on.

Teaching Colors with Sensory Bottles

Another activity that we used from The Toddler Experience Curriculum was to make a sensory bottle every month. This is how I would introduce the focus color to Sicily. We would make a color sensory bottle the first day of the month, and take it down to our school area to explore.

We would explore the sensory bottles on our overhead projector and our light table. One day we had a lot of light coming in our sliding glass door, so we put the sensory bottles up against it to explore the colors in a new way.

orange tot school theme

Teaching Colors with Discovery Baskets

Discovery baskets are a great way to introduce colors for the first time to really young toddlers. All you have to do is collect a few things from around the house, place them in a basket, and let your toddler explore. As they are exploring, you can identify each color by saying “This truck is red.” or “This is a red truck.”

Teaching Colors in Everyday Life

This is by far the easiest and most effective way to teach colors. Just use the color words in your every day conversations with your child. At dinner when you give them their plate you could say, “Tonight you are eating dinner on a blue plate.”

Give them choices by using colors. For example, when you are getting dressed in the morning you could ask them “Would you like to wear the green shirt or the yellow shirt?”

As you are driving, you can identify the colors of the cars you pass. There are endless ways to add color words into your everyday interactions with your children, and quite frankly this “activity” will be the one where they learn the most colors.

Happy Learning!