One of my favorite things to teach Myra were the colors, we started when she was around 13 months or so. Since colors are everywhere, everyday tasks and activities easily became learning opportunities without me having to spend any money. Here are a few things I did:
- I grouped household items by color: I started with her toys, but then I mixed in clothes, scarves and accessories. It was important for me to use a variety of different items so she’d understand the concept. I wanted to ensure that she knew “Red” wasn’t a thing, but a word used to describe a thing. Having lots of different items helped communicate that.
- I used free paint swatches from the home depot. I laminated them and added book rings (the rings were $1.50 for a 2 pack from Walmart) and would show her the cards and say the names of the colors, it was pretty easy and she loved playing with them.
- I used educational apps. The smart shapes app from the app store was my favorite. Myra got a kick out of playing it and with little instruction at around 16 months old she could easily figure out what to do. Screen-free alternative: Get some buckets in different colors and line them up. Then give your little one a stack of solid color items (toys, clothes etc…) and have them place each item in the bucket with the corresponding color. You could also substitute the buckets for colored paper, or even place a free color swatch on the floor and having your kiddo simply place the items beside it.
- I used my iPad. I opened up a blank sheet and just colored the sections of the page in different colors and had her call them out. I’d also write the color names in their corresponding color. As a wannabe minimalist this allowed me to create fun pages for her without adding any physical clutter to our home. Screen- Free Alternative: This is a tasks easily done using crayons and physical paper.
- I created fun games for when we went on walks. While out and about I’d say to Myra, “show me the color _________”, sometimes I’d give her little hints so she knew what direction to look into, but she’d get excited and start pointing and squealing. I also played this game while flipping through magazines in the waiting room at the doctors office.
- I had fun with prints. As Myra’s grown older, we still play color games. I’ll ask her to point out all the colors in multicolored items, from toys to floral print clothing. It’s also a great precursor to playing the “I spy” game.