Monday, September 16, 2013

Learning colors

I recently had a teacher ask me for suggestions to help a child learn his colors.  This child just wasn't grasping the idea of colors and, despite months of being taught his colors, could only name one.  The teacher was frustrated and wondered if I had any suggestions.  I assured her that she was not the first teacher to have this difficulty and told her that there are some children that have a particularly hard time with this concept.  Colors are difficult for some children to learn because color is an abstract idea. We point to the car and say it is blue.  The sky is blue,  his eyes are blue, and so on and so on.  A child is looking at the objects and thinking "how can they all be the same?"  So, be sure to teach colors using alike items.  Place 2 blocks in front of the child.  Say, "these are both blocks- one is blue (point to it) and one is red (point to it)".  Do this with a few items.  I recommend using 2 completely different colors- not red/orange. 
Once you have introduced the concept of colors, use the colors throughout your day.  One suggestion I gave the teacher was to put construction papers on the back of the chairs.  Give one child at a time a color to find and sit in that chair.  At first have the child with difficulty  choose between only 2 colors.  Practice one color at a time (so have him find red for a few days until he is consistently picking it).  Gradually increase the number of chairs/colors he picks from.
Another suggestion is to use gross motor to teach colors.  We have mentioned in many posts how the use of movement increases a child's ability to learn. So, glue colored papers on a wall and have the children throw balls or beanbags at a color.  Tape colored papers on the floor and have a child jump to a certain color. 
Remember to label items with their colors throughout your day.  Say, sit on the blue carpet; go to the red table; pick up the purple cup.  Saturate your day with colors and you should see the children grasping the idea in no time!

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