If saying, “ROYGBIV” sounds completely weird, yet totally familiar, that’s because it’s a memory strategy that you probably learned when you were young in order to recall the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. While your preschooler probably isn’t ready to remember this long string of hues, you can use simple strategies to help her to learn her colors.
Treat your tech-savvy preschooler to a fun-filled online adventure that will also help him to remember the color names. He can play an online game that allows him to interact with, name and memorize the colors. For example, Barney’s Colors, Shapes and Numbers Matching game on the PBS Kids website provides preschoolers with the chance to match objects, such as cartoon balloons, with like colors. This can help your little learner recognize and better remember his colors through repetition and selection. Another option is to choose a painting game online. Instead of traditional paper and paint, a web-based application allows your preschooler to familiarize himself with the colors — and their names — by making digital artwork. The National Gallery of Art’s Swatchbox Interactive game lets your child virtually mix different colors to create his own palette for online painting. Add another layer to his learning and ask him to tell you the color names as he clicks on them.
Arts and Crafts
Getting crafty with your child is a creative way to help her remember the color names. Instead of just giving her random words such as “red” and “blue,” have her get hands-on with the colors as you identify them. Give your child a palette or paper plate with golf-ball-sized pools of brightly colored tempera or finger paints. Ask her to name each color as she dips her brush — or fingers — into the paint. Encourage her to enjoy the process of painting, layering the colors onto a piece of paper. Don’t worry that she doesn’t make “something” such as a cat, dog or angelic portrait of her dear mother — your preschooler should focus more on exploring the colors than making a product. After the paint dries, display the painting on a wall or the fridge. Ask her to name the colors that she painted as she looks at her artwork. Keep this activity up on a daily basis until she can quickly recall the name for each hue.
Make your own matching game to help your preschooler remember the color names. Hand out a few index cards to your child, asking him to color each one with a separate crayon or marker. Use as many colors as you think your child can handle. For example, your newly turned 3-year-old may not yet be able to memorize as many color names as your almost-6-year-old can. Place the color cards on a table or another flat surface and say the names one at a time. Each time that you call out a color name, have your child pick up the matching card.
As your preschooler goes through her day, she’s sure to see a rainbow of colors almost everywhere. Unless she’s sitting in the dark watching black and white movies, your child is seeing colors in the house, at school, in the neighborhood and anywhere else she goes. Help her to memorize the color names by playing eye spy as you go about your day. For example, when you are eating lunch in the kitchen ask her to “spy” something that is red — such as a potholder — and when you are walking through the park you can have her find something that is green — such as a tree.
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