Friday, February 4, 2011

10 Ways To Teach Colors With Out Driving Yourself Crazy

1. Construction Paper! Okay don't really use construction paper it falls apart, get's ripped and fades with in a short time. Instead use the craft foam sheets! Not only do they hold up to little hands but your 2 year old can use them as skies on the tile floor in between practicing! We started with just 4 colors Green, Blue, Yellow and Red. Weather you start with 12 colors or 4 take the foam sheets of the color or colors you've chosen and write the name of each in large letters with a sharpie marker. Even if your child can't read yet, having the word associates helps. Use them as flashcards, one side should remain blank (no writing) so hold it up and simply ask (what color is this). They aren't likely to know the first time unless you've already started teaching colors so be patient.

2. Sign Language. The more a child associates with an object or idea, the quicker they'll pick it up and retain it. So give them more then one option to express the "correct answer" especially if your child isn't talking yet. Here is a free website you can use to look up all the signs you'll need. (If you choose to do this don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do 100 different colors at once).

3. Candy! Get a bag of M&M's, Runts, Skittles, or Gummy Bears. Let them have the ones they can name the colors for! They'll learn pretty quick. My 2 year old knew the colors but was being stubborn about express it it. So I got a bag of skittles and told her she could have the ones she named the colors for, mom (myself) was eating the ones she didn't. She only missed 2 or 3 then decided that watching me eat them wasn't nearly as fun as her getting to eat them!

4. Colored Water! All you need is a few dishes (I use ziplock disposable dishes) and a package of food dye. Kids LOVE playing in water. So dye the water different colors, and let them sit in the kitchen (or outside) with a spoon and 4-6 different colored water bowels. They'll learn what it is to mix colors, you can sit down with them and simply "tell them" what each color is as they play with it. This requires no interaction back so it's great for those babies 6 months to a year who aren't really ready to tell you what they know yet. Just you, telling them, and them playing.

5. Play Dough! Help your kids make "red apples", "green leafs", "orange balls" etc. again it doesn't have to require interaction from then as far as "what color is this" which makes it a great introduction. Worried about your kids eating it? Get the edible dough! They'll enjoy it, you don't have to worry.

Yummy Dough

6. Balls! This is one of my daughters favorite games ever! A package of whiffle balls works great, once they start to know the colors a little take two balls of different colors and roll them across the floor. (or if you are outside you can thrown them a short ways down the yard) and tell them to retrieve one of them based on their color. Be prepared to offer a treat for bringing the correct ball back.

Example: i'll take a red ball and a green ball roll them both down the hall and tell my 10 month old to get the green ball. If she get's the correct one she get's a gold fish cracker!  This is a great way to test what your kids know before they are speaking.

7. Color Books! This is another one in which you can ask your kids to name the color, or simply read to them and let them enjoy the time with you. They will learn the colors simply from repetition so don't feel the need to force them to point out everyone all the time.

8. Coloring Games! Here's a short list of some of our favorite color games!
- Coloring Book Games: Such as Color The Jobs on Nick Jr. Or for younger kids (0 to 9months) Tap A Color by Fisher Price is a great option.
- Coloring effects games like thiKaleidescope Game from Luminosity (go though this link and you won't have to create an account). 
- Drawing and creating with color games, which you'll find tons of on!
For more game options check out my blog entry with over 1000 free online games for kids.

Crayola 64 Ct Crayons

9. Coloring! Just old fashion coloring with crayons. There are lots of free coloring pages on children's websites, or you can pick up a coloring book. Or how about this, just some white paper. Crayons are a great way to expand creativity, express you self, and learn colors at the same time!

10. Point out colors in everyday activities! Kids can get stuck thinking school time and "real life time" are separated somehow if you sit down and teach them in a formal setting everyday. SO make sure you expand what they've learned into their "real life time" while at teh store point out colors on boxes, bags, toys, cloths, shoes, etc. If they ask for a food, or toy, make sure to tell them or ask them what color it is! Simple - Free - and helps close that separation gap in their mind.

What have you done to teach colors?

Homework is not a grueling list of tasks for babies! Make sure your child is having fun OR STOP! If your baby just isn't doing it one day DON'T DO IT! If you get half way though the ABC's or just to D and their attention span is gone, STOP! If they get distracted and want to do something else DO IT! You're baby will learn with your consistency and they will surprise you when they come up and ask you to do "reading" with them or "1, 2, 4" with them! If your child is just not paying attention go ahead and continue, they are absorbing things even if it doesn't seem like it. But when they are done, you are both done! This is not a battle, it's a bonding, learning, loving time for you two or three or four to spend together

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