Little gosling has shown interest in colours a few weeks before he turned two. We promptly started helping him by focusing on colour awareness in our reading and daily activities, pointing out colours, nuances, repeating the names, grouping items from the same colour family, making associations with fruits and veggies. I am so very much in awe of his drive to learn and capacity to absorb new words and concepts. He asks and he repeats again and again and again. A few weeks later now, he’s able to accurately identify the main colours most of the time, shades and nuances included. Black is still tricky; it’s not a colour we see much of around us. It has been such a fun process!
His first contact with colour names was through a Baby Einstein octopus that we received before he turned 18 months from a friend. When pressing, each arm says a colour out loud and there is an associated symbol sawn on it. That was a useful introduction, even though he’s not that much into talking/singing toys.
At Christmas, granny offered him a book about colours, “Ce culoare este aceasta?” (in English, “What colour is this?”). He was hooked for days on some of its lift the flaps activities, mainly about green (discover the flowers one can find on the meadows) and red (find colours of fruits). There are many more things to discover in the book, as his ability to grasp more complex notions develops. However, I believe it contributed, even though not immediately visible, to the understanding of things he can verbalise or really grasp, now, when some months have passed, like the distinction between dark (bedtime) and daylight (waking up) or the red and green colours of the traffic light.
“Bu” (blue) was invariably the first colour he mentioned for many days when he first started toying with colours. I wondered whether it was a special thing for babies to “see” everything blue or whether it was a question of personal preference. Soon thereafter followed “red”; everything was first red and then the colour it truly was.
Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle’s “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” (more about it here) and a bit later,“How Billy Hippo learned his colours” by Vivian French and illustrated by Hannah Foley (more about it here), helped him fix the colours. The brown bear book has a catchy rhyme to it, that is just so suitable to an endless repetition; little gosling eventually got around to the colours (brown bear, red bird, yellow duck, purple cat….). Billy Hippo has such a sweet little story which just makes it impossible for him to forget or not be excited about colour pink. We also practiced colours when looking for the Easter eggs in his favourite search and find book.
Beyond books, we played at identifying colours in the most ordinary of our daily routine: I asked “what colour is this?” and he answered. We named the colour of the cars parked on the side of the street on our daily walks outside. He still stops at every flower and blooming plant in the park or outside houses: “hello pink flower”, “hello purple flower”… And, of course, we notice every time that the trees and the leaves and the bushes are green :))). We named the colour of each item of clothing that he helped me hang out to dry (whilst identifying the name of the item and its owner). We put away his building blocks by colour. We played with stickers representing fruits and vegetables, learned their names and colours and stuck them on paper grouped by colour (pumpkin is orange, carrot is orange, broccoli is green, strawberry is red). We used the simplest opportunities to repeat the names of colours.
My favourites are his yellow (which he says “lăuă”) and orange (“oingi”). His ”r” is very elusive; sometimes I could swear he pronounces it, even though in a softer way, whilst other times it sounds like it’s not really there (“ghin” for green). Granny, from the distance of google hangouts, is firmly convinced she is hearing the “r” :))).