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

Birth to 12 Month Personal Visit Plan

Birth to 1 Month –

  • Attachment and transition to the world, newborn brain development and reflexes, infant massage, newborn vision.

  • (Activity) Born to Learn Video, Neuroscience Video.

1 Month –

  • Reading baby’s cues, stimulation and sensory overload, states of consciousness, tummy time.

  • (Activity) Tummy Time

2 Month –

  • Hearing the sounds of speech, windows of opportunity, overhead batting, immunizations.

  • (Activity) Bat Mobile.

3 Month –

  • Early communication, father’s role, nature and nurture, parent’s role: designer, effects of smoking.

  • (Activity) Tracking.

4 Month –

  • Hearing, grasping and mouthing, gross motor development, feeding issues, immunizations.

  • (Activity) Informal Hearing Check.

5 Month –

  • Early use of books: language and shared attention, vision, cause and effect testing, parent’s role: consultant.

  • (Activity) Shared attention with a play mat.

6 Month –

  • Establishing healthy sleep patterns, early memory associations, healthy habits, baby games.

  • (Activity) Baby games.

7 Month –

  • Babbling, learning to crawl, curiosity, safety proofing, parents’ role: authority.

  • (Activity) Helping your baby move around.

8 Month –

  • Stranger anxiety, attachment, object permanence, receptive language.

  • (Activity) Name that body part, puppet play, object permanence.

9 Month –

  • Transition from crawling to walking, safety proofing for walking, toys for learning.

  • (Activity) Promoting Walking.

10 Month –

  • Small muscle development, temperament, curiosity, discipline.

  • (Activity) Unwrapping a toy.

11 Month –

  • Beginning to walk, safety for toddlers, child care check-up, receptive language.

  • (Activity) Textures.

12 Month –

  • Dental Health, fine motor-oral development, social games, parents’ role.

  • (Activity) Snack time.

13 to 24 Month Personal Visit Plan

13 Months –

  • First Words, Television, Using Music and Exploring with and Hands Together..

  • (Activity) Clothespins in a Bottle – Improves hand-eye coordination and repetition.

14 Months –

  • Negativism, Language development and autonomy, immunizations and nutrition

  • (Activity) Chips in a Can – Uses newly developed muscle skills to fit the chips through the slot. Also uses trial and error and simple problem solving skills.

15 Months –

  • Parallel talk, self talk and stretch talk.

  • (Activity) Farm – Parallel Talk and Self Talk

16 Months –

  • Temper Tantrums, Child Stress, Imitation and Social Development, Memory

  • (Activity) Imitating Play

17 Months –

  • Discipline for Toddlers, Safety, Learning New Words and Sleep Needs

  • (Activity) Sock Puppet, Bean Bag (make and toss), Puppet Play

18 Months –

  • Value of Play, Play with Others

  • (Activity) Pretend Picnic

19 Months –

  • Hearing Well and Receptive Language, Listening, The importance of Music

  • (Activity) Music and Sounds (Loud and Soft)

20 Months –

  • Parent Stress, Walking, Self-esteem, self help and discipline, Readiness for toilet training

  • (Activity) Step, Jump and Climb

21 Months –

  • Saying Words, Combining words, television and videos

  • (Activity) Word Book

22 Months –

  • Problem solving and puzzles, Making transitions, nutrition and making mealtime pleasant, fine motor development.

  • (Activity) Tennis Ball Puzzle

23 Months –

  • Social-emotional development, child care considerations, beginning conversation skills

  • (Activity) Grain Box

24 Months –

  • Health care and safety for toddlers, tips for health care provider visits, beginning to match

  • (Activity) Play dough

25 to 36 Month Old Personal Visit Plan

25 Months –

  • Tips for teaching toilet use, Body awareness, Matching by shape, beginning to count

  • (Activity) Matching file folder game

26 Months –

  • Effective and efficient motion, eye-hand coordination, sentence length, using conventional grammar, understanding and complying with requests.

  • (Activity) Racket Play, Collage and fish color game

27 Months –

  • Matching, sorting and classifying, learning colors, learning about size, dressing

  • (Activity) Apple Sorting and Pizza Game

28 Months –

  • Gender awareness, dealing with fears and feelings, discovering motor abilities, throwing, catching and kicking

  • (Activity) Bears with Feelings

29 Months –

  • Recognizing a whole from parts, transformations, learning concepts through everyday experiences, characteristics of early speech

  • (Activity) Shaving Cream Play

30 Months –

  • Discipline is teaching, techniques for enforcing limits, problem solving

  • (Activity) Finger painting

31 Months –

  • Fine motor skills for writing, building with blocks, new language skills, using spoken language.

  • (Activity) Building with Blocks, fingerplays.

32 Months –

  • Mental representation, computer play, integrated development, active play, toys for pretend and gross motor play.

  • (Activity) Hidden Object Game

33 Months –

  • Temperament at 2, self-esteem, cooking

  • (Activity) Cooking

34 Months –

  • Memory, using open-ended questions, why questions, reading, sharing and cooperative play, pretend play.

  • (Activity) Memory, Pretend Play.

35 Months –

  • Learning to cut, learning to string, toilet learning setbacks

  • (Activity) Tie Dye Fun

36 Months –

  • Review of Parents as Teachers, three year old screening, Looking Ahead

  • (Activity) Favorite Activity

5 to 6 Year Old Personal Visit Plan

February 2010

Meet “Katy No-Pocket”……

Katy, a mother kangaroo who does not have a pocket, searches for a solution to her problem.  This search produces a story which has long been a favorite with children.

Character Trait

Generosity – After searching for a solution to her no-pocket problem, Katy finally meets the man with an apron full of pockets.  He gladly gives her his apron saying he can get another. We will discuss what it means to be generous and explore others in the story who displayed generosity.


Habitats – We will learn about habitats and play a file folder game where we “Take the Animals Home” to their correct habitat. We will also be matching actual photos of animals and their babies to photos in the book.


We will be learning about opposites:

  • Sad/Happy

  • On/Off

  • In/Out

  • Push/Pull

  • Awake/Asleep

  • Big/Little


Counting – We will play a counting game where your child hops like a kangaroo after drawing numbers out of Katy’s pouch and we will count the animals in Katy’s new apron.

Sequencing – Arranges five objects in order of size, from smallest to largest.


Letter K

If time permits we can practice re-telling the story using story props.

3 to 4 Year Old Personal Visit Plan

Over in the Meadow

February 2010

In a classic Appalachian counting rhyme, we visit a mother turtle, a mother fish, a mother bluebird, a mother muskrat, a mother honeybee, a mother crow, a mother cricket, a mother lizard, a mother frog, and a mother firefly. Each mother implores her babies to do what they do best: dig, swim, sing, dive, buzz, caw, chirp, bask, croak, and shine.


This counting rhyme lends an opportunity to review the words that rhyme with numbers 1-10 in the book.  We will read each set of rhyming words, then play the “Over in the Meadow Rhyme” file folder game together.


Your child will explore the color wheel and discuss the colors of each animal. We will re-visit the book and see how many colors we can find for each animal.


Habitats – We will talk about each animal in the story, pointing out their habitat and play the “Habitat” matching game.


Drama – We will discuss all the different things the animals did such as swim, caw, bask, etc. as we flip through each page. Afterward, we will all play the animal action card game.


Counting – We will play the puzzle/animal counting game by matching the number to the correct amount of animals (corresponds with book).

4 to 5 Year Personal Visit February 2010

Four to Five Year Olds

February 2010

Say Hello to a Childhood Favorite…

“Corduroy” by Don Freeman

Synopsis: This is a story about a special friendship between a teddy bear named Corduroy and a little girl named Lisa. While Corduroy is searching for his lost button in the department store he comes across many things that he thinks he would like to have. However, when Lisa buys Corduroy, he finds what he really wants, which is a home. and a friend.

I will read Corduroy using story props.


Friendship – Corduroy is looking for a friend. He finds a good friend in Lisa. We will be talking about friendship and what makes a good friend. I will ask your child to name at least one friend that he/she plays with.


Homes and Habitats – Corduroy finds a friend and a home. We will talk about what makes a family and a home and learn some simple Bear Facts by making a mini book.

Social Studies

Saving – Lisa sees Corduroy in a department store and wants to have him. Her mother tells her, “Not today, I’ve already spent too much”.  Lisa quietly goes home, but later the story says she checks her piggy bank and finds she has enough money to buy him. After asking her mother’s permission, she uses her money, returns to the store and purchases him. We will discuss what a piggy bank is,  talk about saving and make a simple piggy bank together.


Drama – Act out action scenes in the story:

  • looking

  • climbing down

  • tugging

  • flying off the bed

  • running

  • sewing

  • hugging


We will read “Corduroy’s Day” (a counting book) before doing math activities.

He/she will do one or more of the following depending on time, skill and age level

Counting – Count number of beds and lamps on page 14 and 15.

Button Math Box

Sorting – Sort buttons by color, number of holes, size, shape, etc.

Patterns – Complete patterns using button math box game.

Sequencing – Put lamps in order from smallest to largest.


Re-defining a story – I will tell a story using Corduroy as a pattern.  Perhaps there is a boy who has been wanting an animal or a fire truck, etc.  He is told he cannot have it.  He asks later if he can buy it for himself, etc.   Your child will be intrigued with hearing the same type of story but with a different characters and possible outcome.  He may want to make up an ending for the story himself!

These types of interaction are valuable as creative thinking skills and learning to love stories and story telling.

Re-telling a story – If time permits, I will allow the child to use “Corduroy character story props” to re-tell the story.

Shape Boxes

I found this on someone’s blog and I love it….


Shape Boxes

(Boxes Can Be Modified for Colors)

I made these boxes after trying to think of a way to introduce my baby to shapes. Lakeshore has a product similar to this for $5o

but I just made mine with stuff I had laying around the house. I like this idea because she can put her hands on it and also it relates shapes to the real world. Outside of school, there are not many times when she is going to have to point out a 2 dimensional shape on a piece of paper. I hope it will show her that shapes are a part of everyday life. Since she is only 12 months old, I am not trying to drill anything into her. I just let her open the boxes and play with the contents as she pleases. Like in this picture, she took the sponge and pretended she was scrubbing the box :). While she plays I talk to her about the shape. For example, I will say, “that yellow sponge is a rectangle, you can tell because it has four sides. Two sides are long, two sides are short”. In the rectangle box I put a stamp, a sponge, an old id card (which she loves because it has a picture of Daddy on it), a plastic brownie, and two cardboard boxes that came in a play food set she got for her birthday.

In the circle box I put a plastic plate, a small compact mirror, a cd, a butter tub lid, a plastic quarter, and a few plastic food items: an orange, a pie, a pancake and two doughnuts. In the square box I put a washcloth, a plastic building block, a plastic waffle, a small board book and a square pot holder. In the triangle box (the most pathetic box) I put two slices of plastic pizza. I really can’t think of much more to put in there for a triangle. I was thinking a hanger maybe, but it won’t fit in there. I plan to add more items in the future, as I come across them.

You could use this same concept for colors.


You can use it to play MANY educational games with your child  …….



A great game to start with is a homemade version of the matching game. Just turn the cards face down on a flat surface. The whole deck can be used or just pick out the numbered cards. Once they are face down, the idea is to find two cards that have the same number. If a match isn’t found when two cards are turned over, they must be placed face down again and the next player tries to find a match. Each time a pair is found the match finder collects them. The player who collects the most cards wins. When playing with younger children, it’s best to start out with fewer cards. This way it is easier to remember what cards are seen and where they are located. To add variety to the game, it would be fun to play with only kings, queens and jacks.  This version could be called the royal match game.



This game is played with a regular deck of playing cards. It is great for reinforcing the concept of greater than/less than. It is best played with two players. Have each child (or you and your child) draw one card from a deck of cards that are turned upside down. Whoever gets the highest number gets to keep both cards.  You may want to start by only playing with half a deck and using only numbered cards.



Another simple card game would involve collecting cards to make a sequence. All players would be dealt five cards and the remaining cards would be placed face down in the center of the table. Each player would pick two cards from the deck and discard two cards from their hand, trying to get a sequence of five numbers in a row. The game would continue with players drawing and discarding until a player finally gets five in a row. If the playing deck is used up and there is no winner, the discard pile is then shuffled and used to continue with the game. For older children, or to make the game more challenging, making the sequence all in one suit would be necessary.



Preschoolers love to play with cards and can easily identify shapes. A card game involving just the suits on the cards would be fun for them to play. Since their hands are small and it’s hard to hold cards in them, it would be best to deal out five to ten cards and place them on the table in front of them. Having the remaining cards face down in the middle of the table. Each child would take a turn picking a card from the deck and turning it over. Next they would look at the cards that are face up in front of them and find a shape that matches the one that they just picked from the deck. Then place their card on top of the card they just turned over. If no match were found they would have to pick a card from the face down pile and place it in front of him or her. Whoever can get rid of their cards first is the winner. Another way this game can be played is by matching colors instead of shapes. The game would be easier and move faster, a bonus to any small child.




What You Need:

1. A deck of regular playing cards – only use the numbered cards, cards with 2 through 10. For younger preschoolers, start with only cards 2 – 6 and add higher number cards in later games as preschoolers increase their number knowledge.

2. A sheet of paper for each player’s score sheet

3. Stickers – Use any kind of stickers you have. Circle dot stickers work well.

4. A pen or marker

Game Preparation

1. Remember to use only the numbered cards from the playing deck. Only use cards with numbers 2 – 10 or the numbers that your preschooler can recognize.

2. Draw a heart shape on each piece of paper. This will be the score sheet for each player so try to make all of the drawn hearts the same size.

3. Give each player the same assortment of stickers. If you are using a sheet of stickers on which the stickers are different sizes, then try to give each player the same sheet of stickers.

How to Play

1. Shuffle the cards and place them face down the table.

2. Players lay their score sheets in front of them.

3. On each turn, a player draws a card from the deck and turns it over face up in front of them. The number on the card determines the number of stickers that players stick onto their score sheet. Stickers must be placed on the outline of the heart.

Example – If a player turns over a 5 card, the player places five stickers on the heart outline of their score sheet.

4. A player is finished when the heart outline is completely covered on the player’s score sheet. No lines must be showing through the stickers.



What you’ll need:

  • Deck of cards

  • Bean bags or socks rolled into balls (or something soft to toss)

  • Laundry basket or box

Set up: You’ll need a deck of cards with the picture cards and jokers removed. If your child is only ready for 1 or 2 #’s remove any unwanted cards and just play with what you need.

Note: You can make your own cards with index cards. Be sure to draw objects on the cards for your child to count. It is helpful for beginners to see the number of objects that corresponds to any given number.

How to play:

Allow the youngest to go first.

Player one: Pick a card and then count the objects depicted on the card. When finished counting, have the player pick that many bean bags or socks from the pile. (Example: if they pick the # 2, have them count 2, then pick two bean bags or sock balls.)

Player two: Pick a card, count the objects, and take that many bean bags or sock balls.

Once both players have their bean bags/sock balls it is time for some fun! Each player will toss their objects into the laundry basket or box in turn. If your child has 2 objects to toss, let him toss them both. Then it is the next player’s turn.

Collect the tossed objects and start again!

Add cards as your child gains confidence. This game can also be played with dice.



Remove set of hearts from a deck of cards. Cut in half and have children match the cards together.


You can also use a standard deck of cards for the following…….

  • Sorting – Sort deck of cards by suit, numbers, color, etc.

  • Adding – Use lower numbered cards for adding. Example, pull cards 2 and 5, add them together.

  • Placement – Place card 5 and 7 leaving a space in the middle. See if your child can find the card that goes in the middle.

  • Patterns – Use suits for patterning. Example of an A, B pattern…. Club, Heart, Club, Heart, Club, Heart. Example of an A, B, C pattern…… Club, Heart, Diamond, Club, Heart, Diamond.

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