- Magic markers or crayons. Always start with only two colors. After the child has learned those two well, then add another color. Once children know many colors, they enjoy having lots of plates of different colors for this game.
- One paper plate per child for each color. For example, if 2 children are playing, have 2 red plates and 2 blue plates.
- Tell the children, “I have a new game. It’s called ‘Race for the colors’!”
- Have the children stand on one side of the room.
- Place the plates on the floor on the other side. Be sure there is nothing that could trip them. The floor needs to be clear for running or walking quickly.
- Tell the children, “When I name a color, you run as fast as you can. Pick up the plate with that color and bring it to me.” That is a lot of directions. For 2- and 3-year-olds you will probably need to repeat the directions, giving one instruction at a time.
- Say, “Ready? Red!” Remind them to run if they are unsure what to do. If you said “Red” and they pick up blue, just say, “That’s blue. Can you find red?” Then cheer and hug and get excited when they get the red plate and run it to you.
- Have them stand on the far side again. Put all of the plates back on the floor. Call out another color. This is a quick game. Stop while they still want more. Tell them, “We’ll play again another time,” but do not promise a specific time or day unless you are careful to keep your promise.
- Draw shapes, numbers, or letters with black magic markers in the center of white paper plates. Remember: one concept at a time. When you are trying to teach shapes, numbers, or letters, make the color the same. When you are teaching colors, make a big circle of that color on the plate; don't draw different shapes.
- To get in some great physical skills, have your child crawl, crab walk, tip-toe, or hop to the plates.