The toddler and preschool years are the perfect time for teaching colors. Starting as early at 15 months, toddlers start to develop interest and preferences in color and those preferences continue to develop into elementary school. So, why not build on this with these five activities for teaching colors to preschoolers and toddlers?
This post includes a free printable for teaching colors, so be sure to grab it from the end of the post.
Free Printable for Teaching Colors to Preschoolers
I remember the exact moment my oldest learned his first color. We were sitting in the living room of our very tiny apartment, having just recently moved in about three weeks prior. He was still in that “dumping” phase where any kind of play always started off with dumping toys from the basket.
Well, he dumped out the bag of Mega Blocks, and watched as they scattered all over the gray carpet. Back then, picking up the bag of Mega Blocks was a quick task as we only had just a few sets of toys.
But we made good use of these blocks. My oldest picked up a red block and toddled over to be saying, “Boo, Mama, boo!” I gently corrected him, “No, this is red. A red block,” and I picked up a second red block and showed him both.
Then I showed him two blue blocks. “These blocks are blue,” I said. He then snatched both red blocks from my hands and run around the room with both, before tripping and falling, sending the two red blocks across the floor and mixing them up with the pile of other blocks.
That was ok, because then my little toddler just picked up a random block, brought it to me, held it about an inch from my face and said, “Boo bock, Mama. Boo!” And this time it was a blue block and my new mama heart sang. Because when you’ve been a mom for all of two minutes (ok, 16 months at that point), even the little milestones make you want to shout from the rooftops.
And that was the beginning of teaching colors in our house. Colors came easily to my oldest, by five kids (and about 100 preschoolers later) I can attest that learning colors doesn’t come easily or naturally to all children, which is why it’s so important to incorporate activities for teaching colors in your lesson plans.
In this post I’m sharing five activities for teaching colors to preschoolers all while using a single set of printable task cards. You can grab the task cards from the end of this post.
Task Cards for Teaching Colors to Preschoolers
These task cards are a fun way for preschoolers and toddler to learn colors all while doing some fine motor work, too. Gotta’ love an activity (or five activities) that work on multiple skills at once. Be sure to read to the end of this post for all the other ways you can use these task cards to teach colors to your preschoolers.
How to Use the Task Cards for Teaching Colors to Preschoolers
I like to start by asking my preschooler to name the colors on the selected task card before matching the colored blocks to the card.
If you’re preschooler doesn’t know all the colors, that’s ok! This is the first step in teaching colors to your preschooler. Point to each square and name the color, then ask your preschooler to name it with you. If the card has a second square of the same color and you have already named the color once, then point to the square and wait a few seconds to see if your preschooler remembers the name of that color.
Next, invite your preschooler to find the matching color blocks and place each block on the corresponding square on the card. Even without the jumbo tweezers, this is difficult fine motor work as it takes coordination to place the blocks in just the right place.
If you have a younger preschooler, this is definitely where you want to start. Without the tweezers. Using the tweezers with the fingertips, as they are designed, takes a lot of finger strength, and you don’t want your preschooler to get frustrated. But adding tweezers is certainly the next step in developing that fine motor work that will eventually turn into a mature pencil grasp.
You might have a young preschooler or toddler who is insistent on using the tweezers, even if they can’t handle the properly. They most likely will use a variation of the “death grip” and squeeze the tweezers with the whole palm of their hand. Believe it or not, this is great for strengthening hands, so let your toddler go ahead with it.
Now, let’s teach some more color words.
I see you are matching the green block with the green square. That’s a good match! What color are you matching?
Now, it is possible, and quite likely, that your toddler aged students may not be interested in making any color matches at all. This is ok too. Simply adding the blocks to the task cards, with or without the tweezers, is good fine motor and hand strengthening work.
In this case, you might say something like,
You’re holding a blue block. See? Blue. Can you say blue? Where does blue go?
I love these cards for teaching colors to preschoolers. It’s such a quick activity to set up!
More Ways to Teach Colors to Preschoolers Using these Task Cards
Here are a few other ideas for teaching colors to preschoolers using these exact same task cards, so you can get even more use about of them.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab your free printable at the end of this post!
- Use the task cards as a reference and have your preschooler make the same design on a mirror or table rather than directly on the card.
- Have your preschooler “build up” by stacking more than one block on each color. How tall can you go?
- Turn this into an activity that can be shared with parents by having your preschooler first snip little squares of colored paper and then glue them onto the cards.
- Be creative with the color manipulative. It doesn’t have to be blocks. You can use farm counters or any math counter, for that matter!
Looking for More Printables for Teaching Colors to Preschoolers?
Try some of these! They’re all free!
Grab Your Free Color Block Task Cards Here!
Think you need these for your preschool lesson plans? Grab your own copy by clicking the image below. It will be sent to your email.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.