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As a former Kindergarten teacher, I always had a range of crafts, activities, and experiments that would allow my little students to explore and create with color. Learning to identify colors helps children to develop the cognitive link between visual clues and words, serving as both a fun activity and a beginning introduction to the world of reading. Here, I have chosen some of my favorite color activities that you can do with your toddler.
#1 Paper Towel Color Rainbow
This is an easy and fun experiment to do with your toddler, and they will enjoy watching the colors run together to form new colors. This experiment is a great introduction to primary and secondary colors, and it provides an excellent visual for your toddler to see what colors can be made by combining two other colors.
It is simple to set up, and you only need some paper towels, clear cups, and some food coloring. You can get the step-by-step instructions from Fun Learning for Kids.
#2 Egg Carton Color Sorting
This is a fun little activity to help your toddler to identify different colors by name, and that is an important skill to develop. You can get the instructions for this activity from The Imagination Tree, and again it uses simple items from around the house.
When developing their language skills, toddlers will often know a few familiar color names, and they will apply those names to all colors. So, this is a great activity to help them learn the different color names, instead of labelling every color “blue”! Grab your favorite marker colors and color a different dot inside each egg carton. Use colored chips or small toys of different colors, and let your toddler match them up to the correct color in the carton.
#3 Color Scavenger Hunt
Do you have a busy toddler on your hands? What better way to burn some of that endless energy while learning about colors than with a color scavenger hunt? This simple idea from I Heart Crafty Things is so easy and versatile that you can really do any way that works for you.
Perhaps it’s a rainy day and not the best time for an outdoor scavenger hunt. No problem! You can easily do this color hunt inside your home instead. Or, perhaps you’re visiting a new park that your toddler hasn’t explored before. A color scavenger hunt would be a great way to explore the area while searching for some color items as well!
#4 Color Mixing with Colored Ice Cubes
Toddlers love playing with water and ice cubes, so let’s use what they love to help them explore the wonderful world of color! This activity from the Gift of Curiosity is a super fun activity to do at any time of the year, but it is especially fun to do during those hot summer days when ice melts remarkably fast!
Once again, this activity only uses simple items from around the house, and you can tweak the instructions to suit what you have on hand. Don’t have paper cups? No problem, just use an ice cube tray instead. Whatever you end up using, your toddler is sure to love playing with the ice cubes and seeing what new color they can “magically” make by letting two different colored cubes melt together.
#5 Homemade Color Book
This homemade color book from Craftulate is a great early literacy project to do with your toddler, as it introduces not only the colors but also the letters and words to spell the color names.
It is simple to create, and uses old paint swatches, binder rings, and some fun stickers. You can visit any craft or DIY store and ask for old paint swatches if you don’t have any of your own. Once assembled into a book, you can have your toddler stick fun stickers on to the correct color page, which in turn helps them to learn how to identify different colors. When finished, you have a lovely homemade color book that your toddler can look at and add to whenever they like!
#6 Color Match Cars Painting
If you have a toddler at home, chances are you have an abundance of small toy cars that you are forever tripping over and finding underneath the couch cushions. Put those little cars to use with this fun color activity from Learning 4 Kids.
Your toddler can race the little cars around, driving them to create beautiful patterns and lines and matching them to the correct color of paint. Simply start off by putting some blobs of paint at the sides of the paper, choosing colors that match the color of toy cars that you have. Your toddler can then drive from the one blob of paint across to the matching blob of paint. It is so much fun, and great discussions can ensue when the colors overlap creating new colors! Vroom vroom!
#7 Color Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a wonderful activity for toddlers, and kids of all ages love diving into them to explore and experiment. This rendition of the sensory bin activity from Everyday Chaos and Calm incorporates color by focusing on one particular color as the theme of the bin.
Choose a color that you would like to focus on, and simply fill a bin with as many different items of that color as you can find around your house. The example shared in this link focused on a yellow sensory bin, so they used whole corn kernels as their base, and then simply added a range of different yellow toys and yellow items found around the house. Your toddler will love experimenting in these color sensory bins, and it is a great way for them to learn about different colors.
#8 Fibre Optic Sensory Cave
What’s better than learning about color? Learning about color while playing in a fort!! Kids of all ages love to play in forts, and incorporating some fun fibre optic lights makes it even more enticing.
This fun color activity from The Imagination Tree suggests adding fibre optic lights to the inside of a cardboard box to make a sensory fort that your child will enjoy for hours on end! They will love watching how the lights reflect off the box (lined with tin foil to make it more reflective) and how the fibre optic lights change color. You can purchase simple fibre optic lights from most craft or dollar stores, and they don’t tend to be very expensive.
#9 Colored Spaghetti for Messy Play
Who doesn’t love getting messy every now and again?! Messy play is so important for little ones to experience, as it engages all of their senses and lets them dive into the world of creativity and mess. While we, as parents, may cringe at the thought of messy play, this type of exploration is great for kids.
This color activity from My Bored Toddler is super easy and fun to do. All you need to do is cook spaghetti noodles like you normally would, add some food coloring to the cooked noodles, and let your toddler have some messy fun!
#10 Toddler Color Hop
Let’s get these busy toddlers outside and moving! Throw in a bit of learning about colors, and you’ve got an awesome activity that helps them learn their colors while having fun and burning energy at the same time!
This simple and fun color activity from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine is lots of fun, and it can be played pretty much anywhere. If the weather isn’t cooperating enough to use sidewalk chalk to draw your colored circles, then simply use some colored craft paper, cut out large circles, and play them in a circle on the floor inside. Either way, your child will love hopping from color to color! Once they start to become even more familiar with color names, you can adapt the game where you call out the color name and they have to jump to that spot!
#11 Giant Rainbow Collage
It’s time to get crafty! This activity can be as big or little as you choose, and you can easily use simple craft supplies found around your home. It allows your toddler a chance to practice identifying color names, matching colors, and sorting colored items into the correct categories.
It is also a great craft to hang up around your home, to refer to regularly for your toddler to practice their letter names. The Imagination Tree explains how to do this craft, with easy-to-follow instructions for creating a beautiful rainbow collage with your toddler. You could even add to it as you find additional items that match one of the colors!
#12 Flower Color Matching
Create some beautiful floral arrangements and help your toddler to practice matching colors at the same time! This craft is super easy to do and tons of fun, and the end result are beautiful containers full of flowers that your toddler can use in their dramatic play or however they choose to use them.
The instructions for this activity can be found at Early Learning Ideas with easy-to-follow steps and colorful images to show you exactly how to put this craft together. Artificial flowers can be found at most dollar stores or craft stores, and you can usually get a bunch of them for only a few dollars.
#13 Rainbow Pasta Threading Necklaces
The Imagination Tree has yet another awesome toddler activity for teaching colors! Here, your toddler will not only be practicing their color identification, but this is also a fantastic activity for developing their fine motor skills.
Threading uncooked pasta onto chenille pipe cleaners can be a challenging activity for little fingers, but it is a great chance for them to practice their fine motor skills. Dyeing the pasta different colors allows for a wide range of possibilities with color identification! Thread one necklace with the same colored pasta as the pipe cleaner, which helps your child to match colors. Or, let them be creative and put whichever colored pasta on to their necklace, chatting about the different colors as you go. The possibilities are endless with this simple and fun activity.
#14 Rainbow Suncatchers
This is another beautiful craft that allows your toddler to explore color while being creative at the same time. The simple instructions can be found at Teaching 2 And 3 Year Olds, and again this craft allows for flexibility and creativity. No two suncatchers will look the same, and that’s the beauty of them!
Your toddler can enjoy exploring the different colors of tissue paper, and they can even choose what colors they would like to have on their suncatcher. In the end, you will have some beautiful pieces of art to hang up in your windows, and your toddler will have had tons of fun learning about color and creating their beautiful suncatcher!
#15 Read a Color Book Together
While these color activities involve some form of craft creation or gross motor play, sometimes it’s just nice to cuddle up and read a good book together! There are so many wonderful children’s books out there that highlight color names, provide beautiful visuals, and help your toddler to become familiar with different colors.
This list, provided by Let’s Play Learn Grow, includes some of my all-time favorite children’s stories that incorporate color. Books like Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Eric Carle are wonderful children’s stories, and they provide a great opportunity to discuss colors with your toddler, all the while enjoying some good snuggly story time.
There are so many wonderful activities that you can do with your toddler to help them develop their understanding of colors and color names. I hope you enjoyed this list of color activities for your toddler! If you tried some of the activities, be sure to let us know which ones you tried and whether or not they were a hit with your budding artist. Please feel free to share this article with other parents who may be looking for a little color inspiration! Happy coloring!