Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Toddler Activity: Learning Colors Through Play

Image from Color Maniacs
You're never too young to start learning colors! And actually, it would be quite a feat for me to teach my 26 month old colors at this point because he is still mostly nonverbal. Even though he only says a few words, he is successfully using the sign for "more" so I'm trying to teach him a few more signs. Only really elementary signs because that is the extent of my sign language knowledge. We're working on 'please', 'thank you' and a few other things. And I'm throwing colors in there too. It would be so cool if he could know his colors by signing and sorting before he can even say the words.

I've approached this in two ways. I started to focus on one color every week or so and I pull toys from our stash that are that color and set them aside (he doesn't see them unless we're doing this activity). I try to pull them out everyday for him to play with. He's not one for sorting or really investigating. He just wants to DO something with them. So I came up with having him drop them in the hole in the bottom of a diaper box and also use the slot in a toy mailbox we have. He loves trying to see if the pieces fit. As he's dropping them in, I say things like, "You have the red block. You're dropping the red block into the box." And as I say the color, I sign it. The awesome thing is that if you don't know sign language you can just google the word you're looking for and find out what the sign is, just like that!
I got the white basket and the pipe cleaners (on the table in the background) at the dollar store. I have him slide the pipe cleaners into the side of the basket. I love that there are different size holes so right now he can put them in the larger ones. As his fine motor skills get better, he can try for the smaller holes.

Another activity that he REALLY seems to like is playing with Prism bricks on the light table. If I give him the whole set he tends to just throw them around (I think this is his way of telling me he's overwhelmed). So I've just been giving him the 2 x 2 bricks. He loves to stack them up over and over again. He also just puts them all one by one on the board that comes in the Prism brick set. As he stacks each brick, I sign and tell him the color.
You could also talk about color mixing with the blocks (primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors).
You can go over the colors of the rainbow.
It's funny, we have a ton of Duplo and Mega Bloks that he has never really seemed interested in. But the Prism Blocks seem to hold his attention. Maybe it is the added sensory experience of the light table with them.
I realize that these activities are not innovative in the world of toddler activities. And I know some people do these sorts of things with their kids from the time they are babies. But he is a third kid and was very happy to just play with whatever was around him until he turned 20 months or so. So I just went with it. And now that the girls are both in school all day, I have more time to do these things with him. He also had absolutely no attention span for anything remotely constructive (or maybe it just took me this long to figure out how to engage him for longer than 30 seconds) until recently. He will do these for at least 20 minutes at a time.

What do you do to introduce color to your little ones? :-)

1 comment:

  1. In the last photo he looks like an engineer in the making...