Learning about colors is an ongoing part of early childhood. Having a color theme week can contribute to better understanding and labeling of colors. Following are some ideas to use for a color theme for toddler classrooms.
There is a huge variety of craft activities you can do to focus on learning about colors that are suitable for toddlers. Here are some ideas to try:
Fill an ice cube tray with water and add a few drops of food coloring using primary colors (red, blue and yellow) into water. Give children eye droppers and a piece of paper towel and show them how to drop colored water onto their paper towel. The colors will swirl and mix into wonderful patterns. You can also use this activity as a group discussion on color mixing by using the dropper to mix colors within the tray.
Paint a rainbow. Each day put out trays of paint in varying shades of one color. Make different shades by adding different amounts of white to the color. Encourage children to paint squares of paper in the different shades. When you display their painting on a wall, place each color in lines to create a rainbow display. Use this display for rainbow song (see below).
Construction and Cognitive Activities
When placing out construction pieces sort varying colors into different tubs or baskets. Works great with blocks as well. Use as a base for color terms to be used during play.
Use different colors plates or felt bags/ squares to sort small colored items into same colors. Toddlers are able to sort colors usually before they can label them. Most teachers have also had a parent at some time say “I am worried they are color blind as they always mix up their colors". Color sorting is a great way to alleviate their fears before a child can label colors correctly.
Games and Songs
Use games during group time or in spontaneous small groups to practice color recognition and following directions. To do this stick big colored circles onto the floor (contact is easily used). Play games such as “lets all hop to the yellow spot".
Teach children the rainbow song. You can use the painted mural as a guide pointing to each color as you sing.
Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too.
You may like to have a game of I spy using colors. 'I spy with my little eye something the color....' a great way to identify a lot of items all of the one color around the room.
While having a focus on color theme for toddler is a great way for toddlers to understand color concepts better, remember that ongoing learning is always happening as young children learn new colors, experiment with mixing and learn ideas such as light and dark. Include color concepts in everyday discussions, games and conversations such as “I can see you building with the red blocks, will the green block fit on top?" for true comprehension of color concepts.