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How I taught Colours to my son

Colours colour our life. For any kid, colours are the biggest source of inspiration- rainbows, painting, toys, dresses all contain exciting different colours. As my kid was growing up, I wanted to make him appreciate the same exciting world of colours around him.

My goal was to make my son understand that there are different colours, how they are present in real life objects around him, names for them, ability to identify them by picking it himself. When I progressed on teaching colours, I got unexpected rewards as well. My son used to be impatient and agitated when we used to go out for a drive and were stopped in a signal. After he got introduced to colours, I simply point out the traffic signal to him. And he calls out “Red” and then he himself calls out again (as we had taught him using that opportunity), “Red says Stop” and becomes patient/quiet.

Using his strengths to teaching
I searched for his interest/strengths to teach him colours. When doing activity he used to like matching pictures. This was one input I used to design the activities for my kid and another was his love for alphabetic characters and his growing ability to read.

How it started\
Below shown picture was the file folder material I prepared for my son to teach colours. On the left hand side of the page, I had taken a print out of big squares of colours. And on the right hand side the same colour squares are there, but cut out and kept as single pieces ready for matching. I always use Velcro where possible and make file folders self-contained as my son would not like cluttered desk. Also when matching, sticking on the Velcro is convenient.
Figure 1
Let me explain how I prepared the above material
1.      I prepared a word document for some basic colours. I took the above colours
2.      I added words under the colours. You would find I have withdrawn these words in the later figures
3.      Took two print outs of the document
4.      Laminated both the copies
5.      Cut one of the laminated print-out into separate colours
6.      Put velcro
In the beginning, when I started to use the above material, I asked my son to match the colours. Once finished the matching, I just pointed out the colours and read out the colour name. For ex. Green,Red and so on....
Once he was comfortable with matching the colours with the above material(figure 1), I introduced some more materials as a first step to Generalization.(The below one is only one of the many materials. Some more materials are in the section “Other varieties so that child will not get bored”)
Figure 2
In the above figure I have used geometrical shapes, which I had taught him in a different context(circles, triangles) etc.  Now I used them for matching colours.
Now I pressed towards more generalization of colours as the real life that we see around is colourful.

Figure 3
The above Figure 3 material is also similar in concept to the Figure 2 material but I have used some known objects and abstract images.

While doing the above materials, once he finished matching, I pointed out the colours and read the colour names. After sometimes he started to say the name of the colours along with me.
Now I introduce the flash cards as shown in the figure 4.  I had by this time reduced the proportion of matching activity and have also withdrawn the written text under the colours.
Figure 4
Pictures in the figure 4 are the individual flash cards of different colours. As my son had some knowledge about colour from the previous matching activities, I moved to simply asking him questions about colours and expecting the response.  
Steps involved
I flashed one colour card and asked, “What colour is this?”  I initially prompted him to say the colour name as the answer, .e.g. “Green”.   Over a period of time, I faded out the prompt. If he was not able to say it at any time, I used to prompt him.   I repeated the progress till he was able to the name of the colours comfortably.

Other varieties so that child will not get bored
I had mixed, matched materials at different stages and I did not always follow a sequence. It was all dictated by my son’s interests and his ability to progress with one material. If he was getting bored/agitated with one material, I used to keep that short and move to the next material.

Figure 5

Figure 6
Note: One interesting thing about the above Figure 6 and Figure 11(down) is that hear I have used the fonts in the respective colour(The word “Blue” in blue colour font) to create strong association of colours and words in my son’s mind.

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

But as I started moving towards generalisation, I have removed the coloured fonts in the above (Figure 11).

Figure 12

Figure 12 consists of individual flash cards to generalise the colours to real life even more. To avoid the confusion between the name of the object and colour, first ask the object name and then go for colour name. For E.g. If I flash the Shoe card I will ask “What is this?” Get or teach the response as “Shoe” and then move to the colour related question i.e. “What is the colour of the shoe?” and get the answer as “Brown”. Eventually now he has moved to a stage where he calls out, "Brown Shoes", "Yellow Capsicum"....

  1. Lots of Colour related books are available in markets. Use them.
  2. Colours are everywhere. Do not restrain educating or interacting with your child about colours only in an activity session. Do it everywhere:
At home you can say
  • Brinjal is Violet in colour
  • Sofa is Red in colour
  • Soap is Pink in colour
Outside you can say
  • Car is White in colour
  • That bird is Black in colour etc etc…
That is, there is no rule or sequence to teach colours. Use all the opportunities.

  3. The materials I had shown above are designed to my son’s strength of matching and reading. You can design activities suiting your kid’s strength and interest.

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Please click the following link for a comprehensive documentation of my journey with Aakash: Click Here
Here is the link to the playlist of Activities done with Aakash, in YouTube: Click Here

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