Beyond Primary: Use Color Theory to Boost Early Childhood Education
Let’s face it—not all kids will go on to be famous artists. So why do so many early childhood education programs emphasize colors and shapes first?
Well, for one thing, it might be awkward for a 45-year-old who never learned about colors to describe the shade of color he’s envisioning for the living room. But on a less ridiculous note, color theory is about more than just a child’s ability to point out the color of a school bus or an apple.
Color theory affects a child’s emotions, ability to focus, and even educational growth. Read on to learn about the impacts of color on childhood growth—and some fun ways to teach kids about everything from color spectrums to hues.
The Emotional Impact of Colors in the Classroom
One study showed that human beings in monotone environments may be more likely to experience fear, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and more due to “under stimulation.” Whether we realize it or not, colors have an impact on everything from emotions to energy to productivity.
Though the need for stimulating colors remains, our tastes may evolve over time. Another study about the impact of color on learning environments showed that “younger children find high contrast and bright colors stimulating,” while older children prefer cooler or more subdued hues, which result in a better ability to focus on more intense in-room classwork.
Does your classroom color scheme work for your students? If you’re working with a preschool or kindergarten crowd, consider incorporating bright-colored pillows, posters, or other items.. ECR4Kids offers a wide range of colorful classroom equipment in vibrant primary colors that will inspire young students and keep them engaged.
The Effect of Colors on Educational Development
A child’s ability to recognize the differences in colors is foundational.
The ability to distinguish between two different objects is even more pronounced when color and shape are involved. For instance, once a child is able to recognize and name the difference between a red triangle and a blue square, he’ll be better at seeing the differences between the numbers 5 and 10 or the letters A and Z.
On a deeper level, when a child learns to make associations with certain colors—red is “hot,” and blue is “cold”—it helps him make connections between two seemingly unrelated objects later on (hello, metaphors!).
Need another reason to bump up your color learning projects? A recent study showed that exposure to different colors during the learning process can help deal with memory-related problems, such as learning difficulty, autism, dyslexia, and more.
Ready to use color theory to reinforce other educational concepts? Check out these simple activities to get started.
Activities to Augment Education With Color Theory
1. Reinvent the (Color) Wheel to Teach Math
You are likely well-versed in the different color definitions, but let’s refresh anyway!
Primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. They’re the building blocks of all other colors, and you can’t mix any other colors to make them. Secondary colors are the colors that form when you mix primary colors. (Red + blue = purple. Blue + yellow = green, etc.) Beyond this, we have tertiary colors, which are formed when you mix primary colors with secondary colors. Here are color activities using primary colors that augment other classroom fundamentals:
- Rainbow Math Game (from Housing a Forest)
- Train Color Sorting Activity (from Mom Inspired Life)
Hint: use colorful age-appropriate manipulatives in these activities to avoid choking hazards or allergic reactions.
2. Use Hues, Tints, Shades, and Tones to Teach Reading and Writing
Hues are the pure primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The can be further altered into tints (adding white), shades (adding black), and tones (adding gray). Use the power of mighty morphing colors to shed some light on other educational concepts:
- Rainbow Writing (from Modern Preschool)
- 52 Free Alphabet Coloring Pages (from This Reading Mama)
3. Complementary Colors to Teach Science
Remember the color wheel you and your students started with? Complementary colors are simply two colors that are opposite each other on that wheel. Use the following fun science-centric activities to see which colors complement each other best. (Reference your color wheel along the way!)
- Food Dye Color Wheel (from Everyday Art)
- Baking Soda and Vinegar Color Mixing Eruptions (from Learn Play Imagine)
The more you utilize color theory in your classroom, the more you’ll realize how much of an impact it has on all aspects of learning. Looking for more creative ways to boost learning experiences in your early education program? Follow ECR4Kids on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter today!