Toddler Homeschool: Color Month

As you have noticed on some of my other toddler homeschool posts, I have dedicated a couple of weeks to a specific theme. Well...Color Week turned into Color Month. And it was probably my favorite theme we have had so far! And even after it's over I continue to see ways that I can integrate colors into our themed weeks. Because toddler just have a hard time with colors.

We thought J might be color blind for the longest time. Then Google patted me on the shoulder and gently reminded me that colors aren't solid in a child's mind until the age of 3 or 4. Thanks, Google. I feel better now.

The first day that we started (what I thought was just) Color Week, I had arranged J's bookshelf with all red colored things (I had red Mega Blocks in a basket, a red "discovery basket", a red Montessori box with red wooden cylinders in it, and the like). J picked up the red Montessori box and said, "Yellow one, please." Well, I was quite taken aback, and pleased that he a.) remembered that we had other colored boxes, and b.) that he was referencing another color. So I cheerfully got down the yellow box. J said, "No, yellow box." I followed his gaze and pointed finger to the top of his closet, where I saw the blue box. 
And that's why we ended up spending a whole month on colors. 

We had a blast, and you can too.


Disclaimer if you haven't read any of my other toddler homeschool posts: We are on a strict budget, so my ideas are virtually cost-free. It is limiting at times, but you'll see how creative you can be, and how you don't have to spend a lot of money to teach your child about different things!

J's bookshelf displaying the day's color: green.















As you may not be surprise to know, there are A TON of color books out there for kids, which is great! Here's my list of top color books for toddlers:

Books:

  • Dr. Seuss' Book of Colors, by Dr. Seuss
  • Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss
  • My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss
  • Pantone Colors
  • Edible Colors, by Jennifer Vogel Bass
  • Tiny Touch: Animal Colors
  • Science Kids: Exploring Colors
  • Kingfisher Readers: Animal Colors
  • Red is Best, by Kathy Stinson
  • Mouse Paint, by Ellen Walsh
  • Bear Sees Colors, by Karma Wilson 
  • A Color of His Own, by Leo Lionni
  • The Crayons' Book of Colors, by Drew Daywalt 
  • Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Lionni
  • Mix it Up!, by Herve Tullet
  • Yellow Umbrella, by Jae-Soo Liu
  • Color Dance, by Ann Jonas
  • Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Eric Carle

J's Book Review: J's favorite book out of all of these was Edible Colors, by Jennifer Vogel Bass (which may be a surprise for you out of all these books!). This book was quite fun and interesting to read, and features different fruits and vegetables that are different colors. It's engaging because of the great pictures of fruits and vegetables, and the scope that this author goes into with colors (For example, did you know that corn can be red, blue, yellow, and purple? And did you know that bananas can be red?). It's very well-done and it's not boring to read or to look at. Also, what I (personally) enjoyed is that many of these foods are familiar to toddlers, which makes colors a real-world application; kids can start to recognize colors in everyday things, and not just in paints that are put in front of them.

A close second was Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet. This was an engaging book where the author/illustrator makes it feel as though the reader is causing all of the colors to mix and the fun things with the paint to occur. And best of all, it's completely mess free! This book was a bit too long (in my opinion) for a toddler, but we did read it successfully a few times.

Sensory activities:

  • Food Paintings - This was SO MUCH FUN! We made color paintings for primary colors first, then mixed colors to make the secondary colors. I tried to get matching colored fruits and vegetables for each, but it didn't happen with everything..and that was okay. I got different foods and cut them and J experimented painting with each color. Here's the breakdown: Red -I cut an apple in half and had J use red paint to make apple stampings; Yellow - We used part of the banana peel dipped in yellow paint; Blue - We cut a bunch of celery and dipped it in blue paint; Orange - we used a half clementine and mixed red and yellow paint together; Purple - we used a small sweet pepper to mix red and blue, and then stamped it; Green - this was the only one we simply used a paintbrush (because J wanted to) to mix blue and yellow together. I hung each picture on J's wall as a visual for his accomplishment; he really enjoyed looking at it each day and telling daddy what he had done to make each masterpiece!
  • Making (and Eating) Green Eggs - We used blue and yellow food coloring in scrambled eggs to make them green! They tasted just like regular eggs. HOWEVER, full warning: J's diaper was an unnatural color of green the very next morning, so you may want to look into natural food colorings, but other than weird-colored bowel movements, he suffered no ill effects.
  • Green eggs before scrambling
    Fizzy Tub Colors!
  • Fizzy Baths - This was a very recent discovery I made in the third week of Color Month; while at the grocery one day I happened upon these fizzy colored bath tablets. The fact that Elmo was on the container scaled the deal! The container holds more than 100 colored tablets (red, blue, yellow), and you can mix and match the colors to make fun bath colors. J LOVES it! It's the highlight of bath time now! This was a good way for J to see how colors can mix to make a new color, and also to see and (kind of) interact with colors. Also, the tablets apparently have some kind of bitter taste so kids won't eat them. J (surprisingly) hasn't tried to taste one, though, and I'm not complaining.
Montessori-themed Activities:
Some objects from the purple discovery basket
  • Discovery Baskets - This is so easy and fun to do! Each day that I introduced a new color, I would organize J's bookshelf to reflect that specific color. One of the baskets I included was a "Discovery Basket," in which I placed objects from around the house that were the specific color. The kitchen is a great place to find objects! We have a green whisk (of all things), and a blue jar opener, and a red can opener...all these went into their respective color discovery baskets, and J had a blast exploring them. Instead of guiding his discovery, I allowed J to explore the baskets on his own. Only when he had ample time to examine and play with the objects would I discuss the color, and then discuss the object. 
  • Montessori color blocks - A good friend gave me some Montessori materials a while ago, and one of them were Montessori color blocks. There is a lot of great learning activities you can do with them, but for Color Month, I used each box to serve as a reinforcement of the color we were learning. We practiced sorting them, stacking them, making a train...it was just purely for exploration and discovery!

Fine Motor Activities:
  • Goldfish Cracker Sorting - My mom and mother-in-law both know of J's love for goldfish crackers (what toddler doesn't love crackers?!?). Each has bought him colored goldfish crackers on occasion. Seeing as we had a large container of the colored ones (natural coloring, mind you), I thought it would be fun to sort the crackers into their respective colors. J loved this, and we talked about the color of each goldfish before eating them :) 
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear Painting - Because Brown Bear Brown Bear will forever be a favorite in our house, we would have been remiss not to include a corresponding activity. This time, we made our own Brown Bear book! I drew the different animals, outlined them in their respective colors, and then J did water colors to fill in each animal. After the paintings dried, I added the words, and we had our own book to read! 
    J's Brown Bear.










Gross Motor Activities:
  • Foam Mat Hop - Left over from my dance competition days are foam mats. These came in very handy this month! We spent time hopping from color to color, and I also "quizzed" J by asking him to hop to specific colors. This was a great way to let out energy, too.
  • Mega Blocks Color Sorting - We spent time playing with specific colors of the Mega Blocks, and then used the foam mats again to sort out four different colors - blue, red, green, and yellow. Building and playing with blocks ensued. 
  • Body Drawings and Coloring - Inspired by My Many Colored Days, we used orange paper for this activity. J laid on the ground and I traced around him with a crayon. We then colored in his figure, and hung it on the wall.
  • Dyeing Easter Eggs - Easter fell during this time, so naturally we dyed Easter eggs! This activity lasted a whole 8 minutes, as J was eager to plop as many Easter eggs into the colored baths as quickly as possible!
  • Easter Egg Hunt - Using plastic Easter eggs, we hosted several Easter egg hunts around J's room and playroom. We hid only 6 eggs at a time to make it attainable for J (and so we could remember where we hid the eggs). This was a very fun activity, and J loved seeking the eggs.
Wow, what fun we had during Color Month! I hope this gives you some ideas for some fun, and of course I'd love to see and hear what ideas you may have, too! May you have a very yellow day :)