• Kristen Moore

Exploring Colors - Recognition Activities for Littles!

Many kids start to recognize different colors, textures and shapes around 18 months of age. This does not mean that your child should or will know all their colors by this time! MANY kids don't name their first color until they are 3 years old. Remember, young children don't need to be exclusively taught, they learn best through play experiences! Here are some fun play ideas that will help your little start to recognize and learn colors.

1. Sticker Sort

Littles LOVE stickers! The best part of this activity is that while your little is recognizing and identifying their colors, they are also putting their little hands to work by peeling and sticking. When your little is first doing this activity, start with two basic colors. Draw two large circles on a piece of paper. As your little is peeling stickers, repeat the color words several times and cheer them on if they stick the stickers inside the right circle. If and when they mess up, say its OK and encourage them to by saying the color name again. REPETITION is key here! You can also have them sort on colored construction paper.

toddler color recognition color sort

2. Scavenger Hunt

Another toddler favorite is hide and seek! A scavenger hunt is fun way to not only identify colors but to use a lot of words that encourage speech development while your at it! If they can't find a red object, help them along....Look UNDER the table or BESIDE to the chair. Pointing and using positional words are both keys to helping toddlers develop language skills. For this activity, get two different colors of construction paper and talk about the colors before encouraging your little to find the objects. As they learn their colors, add more colors to the activity or simply draw the colors as shown below and help your little hunt!

toddler color scavenger hunt

3. Pom Pom Sort

You can dump pom poms in a bowl, bin or add them to your water table! They are cheap and easy to use for multiple activities over and over again. One way to explore colors using pom poms is to allow your little to explore them in a sensory bin. As they pick up the pom poms or scoop them, talk about the colors. Give them different containers to drop the colors into and encourage them to name the colors as they go. You can also give your little a bowl of poms and have them pick out a color you are working on, such as purple in the picture below! Easy, a lot of room for conversation about colors & a little sensory play too!

pom pom color sensory bin
pom pom color sort for toddlers

4. Color Hop Scotch

This game is a very easy way to talk about colors with your little while encouraging gross motor play and getting all that ENERGY out! Simply draw squares or circles on the ground with chalk and show your little how to jump and name the colors as they go. You can also just help them by naming the colors as they hop or giving them directions about where to jump! Simple fun and hopefully a good nap later too!

color recognition hopscotch for toddlers

5. Art

Coloring and painting are some of the best ways to learn colors! As your little uses crayons, sit beside them and name the colors they use. The same with painting or using different art mediums. Talking about the colors as they use them to create will help your little recognize and differentiate as they go! If you want things to be less messy, I recommend using the ultra washable line from crayola (it's a a real thing and worth EVERY penny). We also have a plastic easel outside- chalk or paint your heart out girl, the rain will wash it away!

toddler art
toddler outdoor art

--- If your little isn't quite getting into these activities yet, remember that the activities are more about the EXPERIENCE than about the END RESULT. They need a lot of exposure and repetition to learn big skills. Keep having fun and encouraging them along the way!

Toddlers can also learn their colors while playing with their toys! Below are a few toys will promote color recognition and identification.

My little loves these find and match eggs! She loves to act surprised when she opens them and name the colors. Once they are all opened, your little one will have to match colors or shapes to put them back together. Color identification and fine motors skills combined is a win over here!

These are a huge hit for kids of all ages! I used them all the time when I taught kindergarten. Right now my little uses them to identify colors and sorts them into the different colored cups (and she also just PLAYS with them). Later she can use them for patterns, addition and subtraction!

This is another popular toy that has multiple uses.

Not only can littles work on their colors, but they can begin identifying shapes, work on hand eye coordination and counting!

Books are another great way to talk and learn about colors! Here are a few of our favorites...

Have fun learning and exploring with colors! Let me what what activities, toys or books you use along the way.


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