by Manali Desai
This Holi, teach your toddler kids how to identify beautiful colours!
Holi is right around the corner, March 23rd to be exact, and with the arrival of another holiday comes another round of questions from the kids. What is Holi? Why do we celebrate it? What do we get to do? I am sure all the teachers and mothers find these questions come up each time we celebrate a festival. We end up struggling to figure out how to give our children a deeper understanding of our culture and heritage without overwhelming them.
This time let’s use the festival as a tool for color identification for kids. Wouldn’t you want your child to be awed by the colors of this festival? I still remember when I celebrated my first Holi. It was the second time in my life that I was witnessing so many colors at one place and I was fascinated beyond words. My first encounter with colors was in a garden blooming with flowers of all possible and varied colors. That’s when I had come to the realization that there’s world beyond black and white. I was so awed by the vibrancy of those colors that I just kept staring around in silence while my mother explained to me what colors are.
The Holi encounter happened a few years later. Though the festival and the celebrations seemed a little scary to me at the time, I remember I enjoyed being witness to the play of colors. My mother had already told me that this was called the “festival of colors” and I could see why!
Later as I was growing up, every time I thought of colors, these two events always managed to conjure up in my mind. If it can have such an impact even after so many years, I thought, why not use this festival to tickle the young minds then? It could very effectively be used as a color recognition opportunity for kids. How? Just let them be part of the festivities, if not actively, even passively.
It is said that “Color is the food for the soul and the brain” so this could well become a stepping stone in opening up your child’s creative side. Take them gulaal and color shopping along with you, let them be curious and fascinated. They are bound to ask questions and there comes your opportunity to have fun with colors and make it fun for the kids too.
What better way to introduce them to colors than by using our country’s wide range of culture and festivals? The plethora of colors available and visible on this day can be a never forgettable start for kids. Ask them questions like, how do they feel when they look at something bright? Do they like all white, black and gray things?
Here are some easy steps, cues take from this awesome festival (Holi) and the timing (Spring) to teach your child the basic concept of colors:
1. Start with what amuses the child the most: If his favorite thing in the world for now is a sipper that happens to be blue in color then lets start with everything in your child’s life that is “blue,”. Point out at everything blue around him, and continue to do so till he has started saying it too. Closer to Holi, show them some blue on their hands. They are going to get so happy.
Next step: Introduce another color. Might as well give it a try 2 or 3 days before Holi. Label all things red (another primary color). Breaking down colors one by one is much easier than learning the whole crayon box at one time. Mum’s nail polish is red and so is the second color on their hand..So, now it’s blue and red!
2. Compare identical objects of different color: The distinction between colors is more clear when comparing objects that share the same current identifying name. For example, compare a red ball and a yellow ball, rather than a red nail polish and a blue sipper! Use blocks for the same. It’s time for some yellow! A toddler likes to experience his/her world through touch, sound and play.
Next step: And soon thereafter, on the day of Holi, apply a small dot of yellow (organic Holi colour please!) on your cheek and ask your little one to rub it with their tiny fingers. They are going to probably enjoy the experience.
3. Take them color shopping: As mentioned above, let them be curious and fascinated. They are bound to ask questions and there comes your opportunity to have fun with colors and make it fun for the kids too.
4. Play with colors: On the day of Holi, under your supervision, place all the three colors (blue, red and yellow) in front of your smart toddler. Ask them to point at them by calling out one after the other. Have fun playing with them. Let them get their hands dirty. Older kids can make some rangoli (creative design) with it. When the toddler sees all this, he/she will get even more excited and interested in colors.
To keep the art of teaching colors alive, for the next few months, try the following:
1. Visit to a flower exhibition or spring festival: Point at different colors surrounding you. Grass is green, sky is blue, etc. I am, not sure if handing out M&Ms should be the best idea. If I were you, I wouldn’t do that.
2. Color sheets. Don’t underestimate the value of children being able to choose colors and scribble on a page. Let them choose crayons of interest and label that choice with the color name while they hold, feel, and smell the crayon touch the page.
Happy Holi, everyone. Let the colors make your child’s life more colorful. 🙂
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