Working together through continuous learning to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County, Indiana
An education initiative of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County

Adults can Help Children Discover a Rainbow of Colors

Written June 10th, 2010 by
Categories: Early Childhood Learning - Publications

The Star

by Lindsay W. Brown

June 10, 2010

The world around us is a rainbow of colors! From the green grass to the beautiful blue sky sprinkled with white clouds. From the bright red fire truck to the soft pink flowers in the patio planters. Colors surround us and hidden inside these colors are learning opportunities just waiting to be tapped.

Continuing the series on early learning for young children, Learning Link’s early childhood team is sharing some of the most basic skills children need for success in school. DeKalb County has set a goal that all children entering kindergarten can identify and name at least 5 colors. People use colors to describe things (“turn left at the green house”), provide safety information (drivers need to stop when they see a red stop sign or light), solve problems (“the sky is gray . . . let’s take an umbrella”) and more. This week we’ll look at how parents and caregivers can help their young children learn to recognize colors and make it fun.

Your child’s ability to recognize different colors heats up around 18 months of age, the same time he or she begins to notice similarities and differences in shape, size, and texture. Between 18 and 36 months, toddlers explore and begin to make connections with words and colors. Most children can name at least one color by 36 months. Once this connection is made, children will enjoy activities which stimulate the learning of colors and color names.

“There are many ways of teaching colors to preschoolers,” states Tonya Weaver, Assistant Principal at J.E. Ober Elementary. Weaver continues, “if you’re wondering how to teach colors to your preschooler, you need to first think of the ideas that can help her look closely at the colors.” The following activities are several ideas shared through J.E. Ober’s KARE (Kindergarten Academic Readiness Experience) program that helps families of next year’s kindergarten class ensure their children are ready for success.

*Go on a color hunt: Use a colored gift bag and then go on a search to find other items of the same color. You could also make this a race and see how many red items your child can put into her red gift bag in 5 minutes.

*Set up a theme week: Designate a week as a certain color – green week, for example. Create opportunities all week to find the color green, wear green clothes, eat green vegetables, paint a green picture, anything to highlight the color of the week!

*Play pointing and matching games: When you’re out, say “I see a red flower” and wait before pointing to it to see if he points first. If he’s wearing a blue shirt, ask him if he sees anything else around him the same color. This encourages your child to begin to notice all the colors around him.

*Try fishing: Together, make and cut out paper fish of different colors. 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.

*Get active with a color toss: Have your child toss a bean bag at paper squares and try to land on a color that you call out to her.

*Enjoy snack time: Have your child sort fruit snacks, such as Fruit Loops or other colored snacks, into groups by their colors. He can then tell you each color before eating his snack.

The most important thing to remember as you support your child in learning colors is to make it fun! Playing is a central activity in the lives of healthy children, and as children play, they weave together all the elements of life as they experience it. So, play together, learn together, and have fun together!

For more information about Learning Link, an initiative of the DeKalb County Community Foundation, or a four-page booklet of low- and no-cost learning resources available in DeKalb County, go to and click on ‘Community and Parent Resources’, then ‘Early Childhood’, or call Judy Sorg at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 260-925-0311.