Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Play Time - Fun with Colours

Play is an important part of childhood. Every kid should get the chance to have free, unstructured play with no expectations every day. However, play is also an amazing learning tool. When something is fun, and stress free, it is easily absorbed and remembered. You can use play to teach the basics to your toddler and pre-schooler, without it feeling like a lesson plan. Here are two ideas you can use to teach, or practice, colours using play.

Colour Sort Challenge

You'll Need: 

Coloured Construction paper (Choose whichever colours your child is currently working on learning. Stick to the 3 primary colours or expand to pinks, purples, and teals for an advanced preschooler.)

* Toys...or household objects. (Whatever you have in the house. Stuffed animals, cars, blocks, spatulas, flip flops - be creative! Just make sure items are one solid colour or have an obvious dominant colour.)

* A wide open space. (If you want to make this into a quieter activity, you can choose smaller objects, like Lego pieces or Fruit Loops and set it up at the kitchen table.)

Lay out the construction paper with space between and pile all of the toys in the middle, or to the side. Together with your child, place each toy on the piece of construction paper that is the same colour. Then let her continue doing it alone. Once your child has got the hang of it, you can mix it up. Give your child one minute to match as many toys to the colour as possible. Then, he can try to beat that number. At a play date (or for siblings) it can be a friendly competition. Or, don't collect the items in advance and send children on treasure hunts through the house to find one small or medium sized object of each colour. First one to find one of each wins and gets to choose the day's snack!

Colouring with Paper

You'll Need:

 Coloured Construction paper (In all the colours of the rainbow. You can get inexpensive construction paper pads at the dollar store.)

*  White paper. (Any quality or size.)

*  Crayons (Or pencil crayons or markers. Anything to draw the outlines of the shapes.)

*  Two sided tape. (Or paste for a more advanced preschooler.)

Start by drawing a hollow rainbow on the white sheet of paper. Make sure that the sections are wide enough to paste lots of pieces of paper. Have you child rip up construction paper of every colour into little pieces. (Trust me, toddlers really, really like ripping paper, so save this job, or a portion of this job, for them.) Now it's time to colour in the rainbow. Put a small piece of double sided tape on each piece of coloured paper, and demonstrate to your child how to place the paper within the lines of the coordinated colour. After you've done a bunch together, let your child continue on their own. If your child likes this activity, you can recreate it using other images. Try a stop sign (with red, green, and yellow) that you can then use to place cars. Or, how about tracing fall leaves and filling them in with the beautiful seasonal colours.

Note: Play is an amazing way to reinforce the knowledge that children are gaining just by experiencing the world in the pre-school years. Use these activities as an opportunity to have fun, and build on the different literacies that will help them, but don't pressure your child. As soon as it stops being fun, move on to another activity. Your child's ability to absorb information is limited under duress and you don't want to make them feel stressed at such a young age. They'll pick it up with time.

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