This page is dedicated to the series of dance classes I created on the Move Dance Learn Youtube channel for kids and toddlers that through creative movement teaches both color recognition and also aims at developing emotional intelligence or awareness in children.
When should you start teaching colors to kids?
You should start teaching colors to children from the day they are born. Although newborns eyes do not recognize colors like ours do – they are attracted to contrasting tones such as black and white, the more practice you have as a parent or carer in using words to describe your child’s world, the more likely it is that as they grow older it will have just become a habit for you to do it and your child will learn from their experiences as a result.
Once children start showing an interest in anything whether it be a toy or a book or the plastic containers in your kitchen cupboard they are ready to start learning about the objects they are engaging with.
I have read that 18 months is the best time to start teaching children colors, but I disagree with this and state that it is probably around 18 months that children can communicate to us the knowledge they are learning, but that you should be teaching them about their world from the moment they arrive. At this age it might be appropriate to start to introduce more formal color teaching such as hunting the house and finding objects that match in color, color puzzle games and more.
What colors should my child learn first?
Red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors from which many other colors can be created. They are also distinct from each other and therefore if you were wanting somewhere to start, they would be the best ones to begin with. But in saying that, infants are attracted to the strong contrast of black and white and although they are tones, you may start there as well.
How Can I Help My Child Learn Colors?
Children learn to name, label and identify colors through experience. The experience of consistently hearing color names, being shown how colors are different and the same, by playing with colorful things and hearing the colors be identified by others, through handling objects and playing matching color games. There is always an opportunity to teach colors to children, in the car as you both look out the window, at the shops pointing to the produce on the shelves, at the park playing in the leaves etc…
Formal teaching and learning of colors through books, puzzles and games also helps children develop color awareness and these lessons teach color awareness in several ways such as; by asking kids to identify the color on the screen and telling them what color it is; by having the written word on the screen during the creative dance portions of the video and by associating the colors with an emotion which helps to develop different ways for a child to recall and remember colors.
I know that my almost three-year-old struggles with color recognition, which is one of the reasons I created these lessons. He knows things have a color, but will just randomly call out the names of colors he knows rather than labels them correctly. We love reading books and read a lot that explicitly teach colors to kids, but that is just auditory and visual learning. Through doing these fun creative dance lessons where he is moving his body whilst learning and taking in the verbal and visual information at the same time, I have found his color awareness has been developing much quicker!
Most older children already have color awareness and recognition, but may never have explored how colors are used to express emotion and feelings and create moods or even sway opinions or judgments which is why these lessons are great for older children as well!! Having an awareness that color can affect the way we perceive a product, an environment, a business or a person is a great skill to learn. Developing our Emotional Intelligence which you can read all about in my article Improve Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence Through Movement and Dance! is also an extremely important quality these lessons teach as well.
Should a 2 year old know colors?
A two-year-old should be aware that things have different colors. They do not need to be able to label and identify colors by name. Knowing that a banana has a different color to a green grape for example is an important skill in developing their ability to classify and categorize their world within their brains. They may call most items red and green, because they have developed the knowledge that these are color names and can see the difference between objects, but have not developed the vocabulary to describe them in greater difference and this ok. Just smile and tell them the name of the colors so they start to develop an understanding of the difference.
And if you do try to do any formal learning activities with your two year olds do not always take their response to be an indicator of their knowledge. For example you may try to match objects around your house by color, but your toddler keeps putting the items into the wrong piles – but this might be because they are putting things that feel the same in their hand together, are similar sizes or are just having fun grabbing things and putting them into piles!
Should my 3 year old know colors?
Yes, a three-year-old should know colors. I mean not on the day they turn three, but during this year they should be able to identify and name common colors. This does not mean they should be able to identify and classify every different color and label them correctly. Three-year-olds should be aware of colors, know the names of some colors, and may have an affection for a certain color for example they may be able to identify everything and anything that is red but also labels everything pink and orange as red as well. Others develop a greater awareness of colors because they may be visually orientated and are able to label most objects correctly within their basic color range and name. But this is also dependent on their auditory and visual skills. If your child is having difficulty developing their language skills don’t assume they do not know their colors – simple matching activities may tell you otherwise.
Knowing things in our environment are different is important to a child’s development and if you really believe that there is more going on with your child’s ability to see different colors then it might be time to take them to see your doctor regarding their vision – they may be color blind or there may be some other learning difficulties behind it – or they might just be learning at their own rate as well which is fine too.
Great Books to Read to help develop color awareness.
We read everynight and even before every nap time each day with our kids, and when I see that my kids are trying to learn something new or if there is something I am wanting to try and teach them, I always try to incorporate some books that explicitly teach the skills into our reading rotations. The following are some great books that would compliment the dance lessons above and help to increase learning about colors as well as emotions!
All links are affiliate to Amazon meaning, if you choose to purchase a book I receive a small compensation which basically pays me to work on Move Dance Learn and develop it’s resources for you!
LINKS TO THE CURRICULUM
Having been a teacher, I am always looking at ways to creatively teach children and regularly used dance and movement in my classrooms to support understanding of concepts and material we were learning about in different areas of the school curriculum. This is exactly the type of lesson I would use as a springboard to cover the above learning outcomes in an actual school setting.
The following are some links and connections that can be made from this movement series on shapes to various other areas of learning!
Mathematics and Arithmetic
- Using colors to create and identify patterns
- Use colors as a stimulus to gather data, create surveys and graphs, for example, asking others what their favorite color is, sampling cars in a car park to determine the most popular color car.
English and Literacy
- Color spelling lists.
- Create a color dictionary or thesaurus.
- Write a short narrative or fictional story based on the theme of color.
- How are colors used as adjectives? Can you think of different and creative ways to describe the color of an object?
- Write a persuasive text about why your favorite color is the best!
- Why do we use red, amber and green for traffic lights?
- How are colors used in society to help symbolize and assist us to quickly identify meaning – for example a red indicates an emergency such as on a fire engine, or the cross on a medical or doctors clinic or bag.
- Study flags and the colors used in them. Study and find out why each color was used and what it represents. Create your own flag and describe why you used the colors you did.
- How is color used to persuade or create moods in advertising? What is color theory?
- Investigate the meaning, history and importance of color in your own and other cultures. For example, why is it common today in western culture for pink to symbolize females and blue boys? Why do Chinese people give money in red envelopes on special occasions?
- How is color used to create moods, feelings and atmosphere? Why have some prisons decided to paint their jail cells pink?
Science, Design & Technology
- Investigate and learn about ‘light’.
How do our eyes see color? How is color created? Where does color go when there is no light?
- How are rainbows created?
- Are black, grey, and white colors?
- Why are leaves green, the sky blue, and sand yellow etc…
- Why are cars mainly painted in certain colors? Why are whitegoods, white?
- What is the importance of color in design? In the design of a house, interiors, tools, machines, etc
Personal Development Health and Physical Education
- Investigate color therapy – what is it and how does it help people?
- Create a color cubby with light – paint the inside of a large box white and then flood with a color light or if you have several boxes paint them different colors. How does each one make you feel when you sit inside them. Which do you like best? Which did you not like? Why do you think you felt this way?
- How is color used on maps to help distinguish, terrain, borders, oceans, forests, cities etc..
- What happens when we mix colors? How do we make new colors?
- How is color used in art to create: Mood, Style, shadow, shape, expression, emotion etc..
- What is color theory and how do artists use the color wheel?
- How do artists use color to shock or capture your attention?
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