Teaching colors to children is a magical part of early learning. It literally unlocks the world to them. This collection of color activities for preschoolers and toddlers allows children to play with colors in a meaningful and hands-on way.
Color activities for preschoolers and toddlers doesn’t have to mean coloring pages or worksheets. You don’t need to use printables to exposure your child to colors.
Learning about colors is a dynamic process in early childhood – it’s also fun, magical, and engaging.
And the best part: teaching children about colors can be done easily at home without many supplies or much fuss.
RELATED: Looking for additional activities for preschoolers? I have a wonderful collection of those activities, too.
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How do you teach colors to preschoolers and toddlers?
Learning about colors is more than just identifying the name of the color or “knowing color words” as many note when discussing a young child’s academics.
Teaching about colors includes:
- Learning about the color’s pure hue
- Understanding different tints, shades, and tone of a color
- Exploring color mixing
- Experimenting with primary colors
- Creating secondary colors
But we don’t often think about all that “knowing colors” means in early childhood. It’s a lot more than just vocabulary terms.
RELATED: Need more toddler activities for your child? I have the best list (it’s one of my most popular posts).
Supplies for color activities
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- Food coloring (you can use liquid, gel, or natural)
- Dot stickers
- Pom pom balls
- Construction paper
- Washable paint (this is my favorite brand)
Obviously each of the below color activities will use a different supplies, but this very basic list of supplies will get you started.
Color activities for preschoolers and toddlers
One of the most popular activities on my site: Colors are hidden under baking soda and reveals when vinegar is squirted on top.
Pom Pom Color Sort
Such a winner: Have your child sort colored pom pom balls into groups (but up the challenge with tongs or clothes pins).
Want to call attention to a specific color and the different shades, tints, and tones of that color? Make a color bath.
Fine Motor Color Mixing
Using primary colored water and a turkey baster, young children experiment with making secondary colors.
Color Sorting Cube
Create a dynamic, full body color sorting activity using dot stickers and a DIY color dice.
Exploring Colored Ice Cubes
This science-based activity has kids exploring color through the ice cubes and warm water. This is a classic that my kids still love as big kids.
Sticker Tube Match
This is a great color activity for home or on the road using just a paper tube and dot stickers.
Science Experiment Color Mixing
With a bin of baking soda and an ice cube tray of colored vinegar, kids explore science experiments with different colors. This is awesome as an indoor or outdoor activity.
Colored Rice Sensory Bin
Another way to explore single colors and the variations of that color is to create a sensory bin. This orange bin was so much fun to create.
Did you know you can dye water with paint? It’s such a cool way to color water and makes an awesome sensory bin.
Indoor Color Mixing
Yep, that’s a peri bottle. And it’s awesome for color mixing. I know you’re laughing.
Dot stickers are fantastic for color sorting. This activity is an oldie, but a goodie, and fantastic for little learners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use exposure and experiences. Instead of grabbing flashcards, teach color words the same way you teach animals names. When you see a cow, you say “that’s a cow.” This works with colors, too. “That’s an orange ball.” Teaching colors organically is always best.
I wouldn’t focus on a best color to start with. Instead, I’d focus on using color vocabulary terms, identifying objects by their colors, and allowing children to play with colors in color activities.
Food coloring “dissolves” in water. In this activity, the concentrated food coloring is so diluted, it doesn’t get on little hands. If you find some on your child’s clothing, set it in cold water for a few hours to let the color “dissolve.” *Always do what you think it best though, I am just some lady on the Internet.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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