Teaching Colors to Your Preschooler

The Importance of Color

Color is one of the first ways your preschooler makes distinctions among things she sees; color words are some of the first words she uses to describe these things. You have probably heard the pride in your child’s voice as she names the colors of the balloons at the store checkout, or her delight when she realizes that a banana and pear are different shades of yellow. Helping you fold the laundry, she may naturally start sorting the socks into piles of different colors while exclaiming, “Look what I did!” These are all perfect examples of how children (and adults!) use color as a means for defining and organizing the world.

But there is much more to your child’s understanding of color than “knowing his colors.” While it is important for him to know the names of the colors, it is just as important for him to know what to do with them. You can help by inviting him to notice many shades, hues, and tints. Make up names for these colors together, such as lemon yellow or apple red. You will be helping him use color as a means for creative thinking and language. Invite him to use descriptive language as he tells you how one green is different from another. A 4 Year Old might proudly say, “That green is dark like a Christmas tree and this one is light like celery!”

Books About Colors

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Eric Carle (JMAR) Available at both Thomas and Hageman Libraries

  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert (JEHL) Available at both Thomas and Hageman Libraries

  • A  Color of His Own Leo Lionni (JLIO) Available at Thomas

  • My Crayons Talk by Patricia Hubbard (JHUB) Available at both Thomas and Hageman Libraries

  • Color Dance by Ann Jonas (JJON) Available at both Thomas and Hageman Libraries

  • Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (JDOD) Available at both Thomas and Hageman Libraries

  • Is it Red? Is it Yellow? Is it Blue? An Adventure in Color by Tana Hoban (J 153.75 HOB)  Available at Hageman

DVD’s or Toys

  • Meet the Colors DVD (JDVD535.6MEE) Available at Thomas

  • Color Discovery Boxes (TOY329) Available at Thomas

  • My World, Learning Colors DVD (J DVD 371.91 MY) Available at Thomas

  • Sesame Street: Guess that Shape and Color DVD (J DVD 372.21 SES) Available at Hageman

  • The Wiggles: Racing to the Rainbow DVD (J DVD WIG) Available at Hageman


  • Color Search: Go on a color “HUNT” by looking for a certain color of objects in a room.

  • Fishing: Have your child fish for a certain color of paper fish, using paper clips on the fish and a pole with a magnet on the end.

  • Color Toss: Have your child toss a bean bag at color squares and try to land on a color that you call out to them.

  • Get a small bag of colored pom poms and have your child sort them into different containers by color.

  • Wear some article of clothing in the color you are learning.Point out the color in everyday objects. (The grocery store is a great place to point out colors)Add the color to your meals by eating a food that color, eating off a plate of the week’s color, etc.

  • Make color flash cards by cutting 2 index card size rectangles out of construction paper and laminating them.

There are several games you can play with these cards:

  • Have child find the matching colors.

  • Pick one color card out and have the child go and find things that are that color and come back and tell you what they found, or bring the object back to you.

  • Gather several objects of different colors and have the child place each object on the corresponding colored card.

  • Hide one set of cards around the room. Give the child one of the second set of cards and tell them to go find that colored card.

  • In the pom pom activity (#1) you could have child place the colored pom pom on the matching card.

  • Have child match crayons to the cards.

  • Hold up each card and ask child what color it is.

  • Go outside and find things in nature that are the different colors.

Make “File Folder” games,

here are links to some free printables:

  1. http://www.preschoolprintables.com/filefolder/firesafety/filefolderfire.shtml
  2. http://www.earlylearningactivities.com/PDF/shamrockcolorffgamec.pdf
  3. http://www.earlylearningactivities.com/PDF/pbcolorffgamec.pdf
  4. http://www.preschoolprintables.com/filefolder/pie/filefolderpie.shtml
  5. http://www.preschoolprintables.com/filefolder/pie/filefolderpie.shtml

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