Frida has always been interested in colour, and for a few months now has been able to name all the main colours, and can use light and dark correctly. I’ve been trying to think of opportunities I can provide for her to expand her colour knowledge as it’s something which obviously brings her satisfaction and joy.
With this in mind I bought her a Pantone Colour Puzzles book. It has six double pages, each given to a colour and showing four different shades. I hoped that it would help Frida think more about the spectrum of colour – light, dark, bright, and different hues.
Each page has four “loose parts” which can slot in to gaps on each page – the idea being that the child can match the pieces to their appropriate shape and colour.
I think Frida is still not quite able to match the pieces to their correct slots – there are just too many pieces and options and the shapes are quite difficult for a toddler’s hands. So for now we are using it to talk about colour shades and for matching activities, rather than as a puzzle.
I chose a colour (orange) and found some toys which she could try and match to the correct shade. Frida matched the fish and the fox by herself – not bad for her first go! Then we matched the crab and figure together.
For a similar activity you could make laminated colour cards and go hunting for objects around the room / house / park which match the colour.
Learning about colour:
We haven’t taught Frida colours by rote, much like we haven’t been teaching her the alphabet, or to count to ten. I have however tried to create an environment for Frida that is rich in colour, and toys, materials, and books which aid colour learning.
I also always try to use the correct name for a colour (if I know it!) such as maroon, turquoise, teal, or ochre, as well as using “dark”, “light”, and “bright”, to preface colours.
When she was a baby, I encouraged Frida to explore colour through creating colour jars with water and food colouring. I also made her colour themed treasure baskets, and talked to her about the different colours on her toys. We spent lots of time showing her books and art, and taking her outside.
Some of our favourite materials to encourage colour learning at the moment are:
- Colour paddles
- Art materials – paints, crayons, coloured pencils, chalk
- Books! Not just books about colour (though Frida loves “Colours” by Shirley Hughes and “Colours” by Aino-Maija Metsola) but every picture book will provide ample opportunity to talk about colour and pattern
- Toys for colour matching and sorting – the Grimms “seven friends in cups” set is brilliant for younger toddlers to learn colour matching, as is the Galt pop-up toy
- Wooden beads – now she is a little older we have also introduced colour sorting with beads
- Blocks – Frida is naturally drawn to sorting colours and building single-colour towers
- Toys to encourage colour ordering – Frida’s Grimms rainbow, conical tower, and stacking boxes all encourage natural classification of colour alongside size. I love that these have control of error built into them to enable Frida to teach herself
I would like to introduce Frida to Montessori colour tablets in the near future – I’m wondering whether to buy some, or make some myself. I’m currently thinking I will make some and if Frida enjoys them I’ll splash out and buy a set.