Once a child shows awareness of colors (that's STEP 1 of my Learning Colors Hierarchy), and is able to sort colors (STEP 2) she is ready for STEP 3: learning to show an understanding of color words [Ex: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, etc.].
When a child can show understanding of certain words her receptive language vocabulary is growing.
Here is one activity to begin with, as I explained it to a little boy's father:
To begin Step 3 use an empty coffee can and solid color items. The items must be identical,
with only the color differentiating them.
If the items are thin (like
plastic poker chips) cut a slit on the plastic cover of the can that the
poker chips can snugly fit through. If the items are bigger, like
one-inch cubes, cut a larger opening in the top.
If he is
sensitive to noise don't use a metal container. Some children like it if
I shake the can when the items are in it and others don't.
on the first color. I usually pick red. Pick a contrasting color-one
that is very different (NOT orange). I usually pick blue.
Put 12 red and only 2 blue on the table.
the can with one hand, so you have good control of it. Say, "Give me
red" and point closely to a red item, so it's clear what you're asking
Hold out your hand and take the red one he gives you. Put it in the can.
On the second turn you will let him put it directly in the can himself.
Point to the opening of the can and have him put it in (guide him, if
On the first turn, after you put it in, say, "More red" and offer the can. If he picks up blue in error and starts toward the can quickly block the hole with your hand and say, "No. That's BLUE. No BLUE. I want RED." Point to a red item and repeat, "Give me red."
Do this until all red items are in the can. Say, "YES! You found all the red ones!" Celebrate then say, "NOW, give me BLUE." (And point to BLUE).
Each time he does better add more blues to make it more challenging until there are mostly blues and only a few reds that he must locate.
When he can get all red with no errors then go back to the beginning, this time starting with 12 blue and only 2 red items and ask for BLUE.
When that is mastered try 12 yellow, 2 red and 2 blue and ask for YELLOW.
In my experience, most children learned the first color, red, in one to three sessions. :-)
There are more activities for teaching colors in my book: The Best Way to Teach Your Child Colors.
It is available as a soft-cover book for $10 by mail (within the USA) - Call me to order: 201-919-4805
or the Teaching Colors book
is included in my E-book SUPERB THERAPY! which is $3.75 and available through Smashwords.com at the following link:
Note: These steps can be used to learn letters, numerals, animal names
and more. For example, just say cat and dog instead of red and
blue..."Give me the cat." "Give me the dog."
Step 1: Awareness of Different Animals
Step 2: Able to Sort Different Animals
Step 3: Able to Understand the Names of Animals
SEE STEPS 4 THROUGH 6 IN MY BOOK!
I'm Noelle Michaels, Speech and Learning Specialist, and I truly love my job!