Color recognition is one of those tricky things. Most children come to preschool already able to recognize most colors. But then you hand out a coloring worksheet and end up with an awful lot of blue faces and purple suns.
So should we call that creativity or should we help them make the correction? Well… quite honestly, the answer is… BOTH!
It’s important for children to recognize that faces aren’t usually blue and that grass isn’t really pink. And it’s also important to help them realize that in their own imagination, they can absolutely have blue people living in a pink world!
So how can you help children learn their colors without stunting their creative growth?
Make a distinction
Tell them when to use their imagination
When children are coloring for fun, let them know that it’s okay to use their imagination. It’s important to give them time and access for artistic freedom Many children love coloring for fun and it’s a great way to build motor skills.
Tell them when to use exact colors.
But when you are focused on color recognition, you might want to start your lesson by saying something like “Okay friends, today we are going to see how much you know about colors. While you are coloring today, I want you to be very careful to ONLY color things the color that they would be in real life.”
Follow that up by giving some examples with choices. “Okay friends, I want you to hold up the crayon you’re going to use to color the sun. What do you think? Would the sun be green, blue, or yellow?”
This is a great way to practice “real” colors without stifling creativity.
OTHER RESOURCES FOR TEACHING COLOR RECOGNITION
Color Recognition Worksheets
Another great idea is using a set of color recognition worksheets, like the ones below. Color recognition worksheets are simple but make it clear to children to children that they should be focused on the real world instead of their imagination.
This pack includes the color worksheets for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, grey, black, and white. It’s a printable worksheet pack also that includes an ink saver format.
Have you ever heard of “heterogeneous grouping? It’s basically a big word refers to grouping students with children of different ability levels. This technique is often used in elementary education. But it’s definitely a valid approach from preschool. In fact, some preschools adopt a “one room schoolhouse approach and use this method for students as young as 2.
The idea is that modeling done by more advanced children will help motivate students to work harder.
This concept works with adults as well! When children color alongside adults, they often try to mimic the adult’s work. This is why you frequently see teachers providing a finished sample of crafts and coloring pages.
Samples do help (especially for children who are already motivated to do well) but sitting next to a child and physically coloring along side of them will encourage even unmotivated students to step it up a notch.
This pack is specifically designed to create an opportunity for adults to model good coloring for younger children.
But Most of all have fun!
When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, they are reading your cues. So make sure they know that coloring things “the right colors” is a fun challenge instead of a boring assignment!