Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Young children learn to see colours and even differentiate between similar colours from quite an early age. It’s not till later that they start to learn the names for colours and often have a number of colour names by around the age of three. Children usually learn to match colours first, grouping objects by the same colour, later they learn to point out a specific colour when asked, and then finally they learn the word for the colour. Learning about colour is an important part of a child’s mathematical development. Children can learn to recognize colours, name them and match them to other objects with this activity. It is important that children are able to identify and match colours when entering foundation stage.

There are two exercises to this activity. The first helps the children to learn the names of the colours and to locate each colour around the room. The second is a sorting exercise which helps to reinforce colour recognition and also introduces the children to the concept of sorting things out into groups.

Equipment required

  • Music track
  • 4 primary coloured shapes – red, blue, green and yellow
  • Primary coloured bean bags, ribbons or scarves in red, blue, green and yellow, Cut out foam shapes or even just coloured random objects.
  • Sorting containers (laundry baskets, buckets, ice cream tubs, washing soap tubs, cardboard shoe boxes, carrier bags, etc). Try to colour co-ordinate if possible. If you do not have anything suitable or prefer to work without containers, then items can simply be sorted underneath the relevant coloured picture.

Link to resources

Duration

Up to six weeks

How it works

Laminates are fixed onto four walls of the room. Children are encouraged with the use of props and a song to identify four primary colours red, blue, green and yellow. After learning each colour there is then a short colour sorting activity using the coloured props and sorting containers.

What to do in the class

Begin by holding up a scarf or other prop corresponding to the colour that the children are looking for, naming the colour clearly for them and getting them to repeat the word if possible. Now play the colour song and ask the children to move around the room and encourage them to look for the coloured shape that matches the coloured prop and song. It is expected that some children in class will already be able to identify colour and others will need more help, so initially guide all the children to the correct colour, letting the more able children lead the way. When the colour is found, there is a ‘reward’ piece of music and a dance to celebrate the achievement.

Once the children have identified each of the colours they are then each given a coloured object and during the sorting song, with the parents help if necessary, they have to find the correct coloured shape and place it into the container beneath the coloured shape. Children that find the colours quickly can be given more objects until the sorting song is complete.

 

Words to Colours Songs (Oh where oh where has my little dog gone tune)

Walking around the room in time looking for the colour

Oh where oh where can the green shape be?

Oh where oh where can it be?

We are looking for green

We are looking for green

Oh where oh where can it be?

 

When found (Ole Ole Ole Ole tune)

Jumping waving hands and pointing to the shape

Hooray hooray hooray hooray

We’ve found the green. We’ve found the green.

Hooray hooray hooray hooray

 

Sorting Song

Sort the colours you have seen

Yellow, red and blue and green

Till they are all put away

Ready for another day

Sort the colours you have seen

Yellow, red and blue and green

 

Sorting Song (advanced colours option)

Sort the colours, sort them all

Match the colours on the wall

Till they are all put away

Reading for another day

Sort the colours, Sort them all

Match the colours on the wall

 

Sorting Song (advanced shapes option)

Sort the shapes and put away

Ready for another day

Can you help me sort them all?

Match to the pictures on the wall

Sort the shapes and put away

Ready for another day

 

Adaptations for older/younger children

  • The exercise can be progressed by incorporating more challenging colours.
  • This element can be suitable for Walker to Two classes and could be made harder for some Two to Four classes by introducing more colours or even shapes.
  • Sorting song – You can test the older children by adding extra colours to sort that are not included so they question where they go

What to do in a nursery setting

Children do need additional support to complete this, so works best with children over 2.5 years in a nursery setting.

Tips

  • If you find a hoop difficult to use, pile the bean bags up on the floor. You could use velcro and get the children to stick the colours on something to sort.
  • Tell parents that it will be chaos the first week but they will get better as they learn!
  • Advanced option

Once the children have all learnt the primary colours, you can then try one of two variations. Expand the children’s repertoire of colours with additional verses, for example, purple, orange, pink, brown, black or grey. Pick any four and use the ‘no vocals’ version of the song to introduce four new colours. Images have also been provided for these on the intranet. You can expand the exercise even further by teaching the children their basic geometric shapes (Triangle, Square, Circle and Star), use laminate shapes or cut from coloured foam sheets for the children to undertake the sorting part of the exercise. There is a variation on the sorting song for the advanced colours and shapes options.

Note – Use vocals removed versions for advanced colours or shapes

Really emphasise the listening that the children need to do, and get them all quiet and expectant whilst the song tells them what colour to look for. When the children find the correct colour, get them all really excited – cheering and jumping up for joy. The contrast between quiet listening and excited celebrations was really fun.

Pauline suggests doing this activity for half a term to give children time to really learn their colours. Those who were struggling at the start, began to remember the song and anticipate the sequence of the colours, even before they could name them.

Bishop’s Sports sell draw-sting bags in 6 different colours, which can be good for sorting. Hobby Craft for coloured foam shapes (either already precut or in sheets ready for you to cut).