Just like your toddler has a favorite character, a favorite toy and possibly a favorite person, he may also have a favorite color. As your toddler builds his language and vocabulary skills he is ready to learn the names of the colors. Turn his interest in all things rainbow into interactive games that will help him learn colors’ shades and hues, as he expresses his artsy side.
Instead of giving your toddler an entire palette of colors, start with the primaries — red, yellow and blue — and have her mix up a unique blend of hues. Set out three paper plates. Squeeze a primary color in tempera or finger paints onto each plate. Give your toddler a paintbrush, or use a cotton swap or sponge, to move one paint color into another. Speak to your child. Ask her to name the primary colors and then ask her to name the new colors she mixed together.
Do you find yourself naming everything for your toddler? If this describes your daily interactions, turn this into a colorful learning game of I Spy. Pick a room of the house, or go outside in warm weather, and see what colors both of you can spy. Choose one color and count how many objects both of you spy. For example, if you choose blue, your toddler might spy the blue sofa, the blue water in a painting, the blue stripes on your rug and the blue picture frame.
If you have no interest in breaking the bank buying pricey art supplies, take a trip around the house on a colorful materials treasure hunt. Choose one color, and look for items to collage onto a base paper. For example, pick some scrap ribbon, gift wrap, an old washcloth and a carpet sample — all in green to use. Cut off the sides of an old cardboard box into an 8-by-10-inch (or larger) base for the collage. Help your toddler attach the items to the cardboard, using nontoxic clear or white school glue.
Get hands-on and make a colorful book with your toddler. Stack at least five sheets of white 8-by-11-inch construction paper together vertically. Punch three holes on the left side, about 1-inch from the edge. Separate the papers, and place them flat on your work surface. Give your toddler a puddle of finger or tempera paint on a paper plate that matches the first colors name. Have him press his hand in the paint, covering the palm side. Firmly press his paint-covered hand on the paper. Repeat for more colors. Thread colorful yarn through each hole. Open the book and label each page with a different color name.