I’ve had some people ask me when their child should learn the colors. 18 months is a pretty good general rule of thumb, but remember that every child is different. When my first child was young, I constantly tried to teach him his colors and I worked really hard on the activities we did. For months it seemed like nothing was teaching him. Then, one day, he just got it. It literally seemed over night to me. I realized that he actually had been learning what I was teaching him, it just took a little time for it to click. He has been that way with almost all of his milestones so I have learned to just teach him what I can, then to just sit back and let him figure it out.
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My younger child has really enjoyed getting to learn about colors, but I certainly wouldn’t say he has them down yet. He is 21 months old, but I’m not worried about it. Teaching a toddler colors is mostly about exposure and making it fun. Don’t worry if it takes your toddler more than a month or two to learn their colors. When they do learn, you can move on from games that will teach them colors to games that will teach shapes. 🙂
If you use sensory bins, you may have to keep reminding your child to keep the objects (especially the rice) over the container, but they will love playing with the sensory bins. These will be a very helpful tool for them to learn the colors.
How to Make Color Sensory Bins
You only need to do one color each day. You can make a few large sensory bins, but you can also make some mini-sensory bins in some old diaper wipe containers. Start each sensory bin with a base of colored pasta or colored rice or both.
Here is a great recipe to color rice and pasta using rubbing alcohol. Here is another recipe just for rice that uses vinegar. Here is one more colored rice recipe that uses hand sanitizer. Finally, here is a recipe just for pasta that uses rubbing alcohol.
Once the base was complete, add all of the items in the green bag from the color scavenger hunt. I did add in a few extra items just to make the bin feel full.
Playing with the Sensory Bin
Next was playtime! Have your child pull out the items and show them to you. Try to repeat each item and point out the color. I would say things like, “That is a green crayon. Look how nice the color is. That is green.” “That is a green pompom. That one is light green. Can you find a dark green pompom?”. You may not know how much they are understanding but keep repeating the color.
In retrospect, I wish I had done the sensory bins as our very first color activity. I think having a separate bin for each color has really helped my child understand the concept of color. It isn’t a big deal either way, but if I had to do it again, I would start with the sensory bins.