Teaching Colors to Toddlers – DIY Color Boards

Teaching colors to toddlers is kind of like trying to stop a train. You can’t do it unless they put on the breaks. Same with a toddler. If they don’t want to learn, they’re not going to.

They have so much they want to explore, do, climb and probably throw. It’s such a fun age and developmentally they are soaking so much in!

Being a toddler mom myself I’m also fully aware of their strong will and short attention spans. For most, not all (there are always exceptions), getting them to sit down and focus on one thing for an extended period of time is literally like trying to to stop a train(that may or may not be kicking and screaming).

Unless, that one thing peaks their interest. That’s where the key to learning lies(especially with toddlers)…in peaked interest.

I’ve been working on teaching colors to my toddler for a while now and frankly we are stuck on blue and red. Everything is blue or red. Occasionally he’ll give me a green.

As a former teacher I understand that if a child is not developmentally ready to absorb knowledge than he/she just can’t. But, that doesn’t mean I should stop trying and introduce different ways of learning to my son.

Teaching Colors to Toddlers

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So far I’ve tried various ways of teaching colors to my toddler. Here are a few:

My attempt at Teaching Colors:

  • Asking him to give me certain color crayon color.
  • Sorting Rainbow Counting Bears.(They come with colored cups that match the bears.)
  • Talking about colors while we are driving. Ex: what color is that tree?
  • Building a Big Lego tower out of only one color at a time, so he needs to find the color.
  • Using color plates and utensils at meal time and having him pick out the appropriate color.

Those are just a few examples. Often I try to make learning a part of every day life because like I said asking him to sit down and do an activity for a given amount of time is just not always in our realm of reality right now.

Related: Toddler Restaurant Kit

Instead I want to make learning fun and active. That means I need to get crafty. Even thought I’m not a super crafty person. But my eight years of teaching experience ups my non crafty game a bit.

I came up with these Color Boards after getting some inspiration from my teaching friend. It’s very simple, just the way I like it. Plus it’s very cheap! Almost all the parts are from our local Dollar Store. This mama loves a good craft on a budget!

DIY Color Boards-for Teaching Colors to Toddlers

I’ve made these color boards and used them with my son and so far we’ve had great success!! I wanted to make sure they were something easy to assemble and easy for him to do so I’ve kept things pretty basic. Starting with the materials…

Materials:

  • Foam Sheets
  • Foam Letter Stickers (I did not end up using these. Too flimsy but good for other crafts!)
  • Pom Poms (Always!)
  • 5 Baking Sheets
  • Magnetic Tape (Not fro the dollar store.)

Materials Cont’d:

Directions:

  1. I put Dry Erase Tape at the top of every board.
  2. Use the Dry Erase Marker to label what color that board represents. I chose dry erase so I could alternate colors.
  3. Cut the magnetic tape into small squares so I could stick them to the back of each object. I chose to do seven objects for each board, so I needed 35 pieces of small magnets. You can decide how many pieces you want to do. I wanted to keep it simple at first and I’ll add more later.
  4. Use the Foam Sheets and cut out the shapes you would like your child to work with. Then stick a magnet to the back.  I did three shapes for each board.
  5. Choose appropriate Pom Pom colors for each board. Then put magnets on the back of them. I had to push pretty hard to make sure they’ll stay. I did four Pom Poms per board.
  6. Then you show them to your toddler and watch how curious and excited they are to check out their new Color Board!

How I Introduced the Color Board:

Like I’ve mentioned I like to keep it pretty basic at the beginning of any new activity. Since my toddler is already comfortable with blue and red that’s what we started with.

  • Introduction to the First Board

    • I showed him the board and asked if he wanted to play. He was very curious and very into it. I started with red since he’s all about red.
    • All the magnets were off the board and I asked him to put the red magnets on the board. I kept saying red a lot so he would associate it with what he the color he was using.
    • He was very proud to put them all on the board and chose to put them all on the actual word “red.” This made me a little curious to use more Dry Erase tape next time to see if he would put it on multiple words if they were provided, but that’s just a side note.
    • We had great success with red by itself.

  • Introduction to Second Board

    • I left the red magnets exactly where he put them. Then I told him we were going to try another color since he did such a great job with that one.
    • Blue was the next color we worked with since that is the two he’s comfortable with. It’s always good to start with wins.
    • Then I repeated the same steps I did with red but did them with blue this time.
    • Again, great success and I could tell he felt confident.

  • Introduction to Sort

    • Now that he had done the blue and read board separately I wanted to see if he could distinguish the difference between the two.
    • I mixed the blue and red magnets to gather then asked him to choose a blue magnet to put on the blue board.
    • He chose red but that’s okay. I said, “That’s red, here’s a blue one. Will you put the blue shape on the blue board?” And he did!
    • Then moved onto the red board and went back and forth between the colors. Putting the appropriate color on the matching board.
    • In the future I’ll do less talking and let him sort the colors out while he goes.

All in all it was a huge success and I know we will move beyond blue and red very soon. Then I’ll introduce another color and it will be a glorious day.

This will eventually be an activity he can do on his own during our daily schedule as independent play.

Being a mom and teacher is all about finding new ways to help them feel loved, supported ,so then they’re able to learn and thrive.

Here’s to slowing down your locomotive long enough to teach them their colors!

Go get ’em mama,

Lindsey

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