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Playing Preschool - Unit 2: Colors

Updated: May 26, 2021

A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum

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Taste the Rainbow

Where Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool's Unit 1: Apples brought the fun to learning, Unit 2: Colors brought the learning to life. This unit gave me a lot of confidence because it was clear to me that I was actually teaching my toddler something. At 26 months, he didn't know his colors. I had been approaching teaching my child colors the same way I taught him vocabulary words: we repeatedly read a very simple book showing colors and objects of that color and I would ask him to tell me what color it was. After a while he had the book memorized, but when it came to pointing out objects in real life and asking him the color, it didn't carry over. Now, I know that some of it is developmental, and that they will learn things when they're cognitively ready, but since he actually learned his colors by the end of this unit, I can look back and see that my approach was flawed. That is not to say that we can't use books to teach colors, but it needs to be a much more immersive experience than just images on a page, which is why I freaking love Susie's approach.

Building Background Knowledge

Learning colors is abstract. At first it is hard for children to look past the concrete. For example, when you say, "Look at the red apple," and point to the apple, they see the object and the description is not the focus. One tip I read somewhere is to re-phrase it as "Look! The apple is red." This puts the focus on the color, not the object.

I love that Susie structured this unit to focus on one color each day. That being said, I started off by introducing the fact that there are LOTS of colors in the rainbow and that we would be learning about each one. You could model this with a game of hide-and-seek like in this Simple Songs "I See Something Red" video or talking about your favorite color like in this one "What's Your Favorite Color?"

Suggested Books

*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit

Additional Book List

Books in bold are also the suggested books in another unit.









Pink (Bonus Lesson)

Rainbow Books for Review

See my post A Rainbow of Books featuring books that promote diversity, belonging, gender equality and being oneself using a different book for each color of the rainbow.

Additional Resources/Activities

  • Susie's Pom Pom Color Sorting Activity (you'll want these mini tongs for little hands)

  • Learning life skills: Take your child to grocery store and explore the vibrant of the colors of the produce aisle. Have them pick out what they would like to eat and serve them on that color day. You might be surprised what a picky toddler will try when it catches his eye!

  • It's one thing to know all your colors, but it is another to know the correct order they go in to make a rainbow, which I felt was important. We played with our Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacking Toy frequently to help with this.

  • At the beginning of the week, I made a big batch of Susie's Rainbow Rice and stored each color in separate bags. Each day we added the color of the day to our sensory bin. It was fun to start with red and end with a rainbow.

  • Each day, we made Jell-o Jigglers in each color (or pudding for white and brown) because Jell-o is super cheap and then used cookie cutters to cut out shapes, talking about and manipulating them. My son is also in a sea creature phase right now, so I included some of these for interest.

  • I saved all the scraps from each color of Jell-o in the fridge and at the end of the week I dumped them into a storage container to make a Jell-o sensory bin. My little one actually wasn't feeling well at the time so it was the perfect indoor activity. I set it up in the shower for easy clean-up. It pretty much blew his mind.

  • I used mini M&M's and Fruit Loops to entice (okay, bribe) my son to review his colors. If he could tell me what color it was, he got to eat it (in limited quantities).

  • At the end of the unit, we used crayons to draw a rainbow to keep with our Alphabet Portfolio.


  • My son mastered most of the colors pretty easily, but for some reason he was struggling with purple and orange so I made sure to review those frequently and he eventually caught on.

  • When doing color sorting, I started out doing just a few colors and added on. Doing all the colors at once might be a fun challenge for some older toddlers, but I felt that mine needed more scaffolding to help him be successful.

  • For the Fruit Loop counting activity... when it came time to make the necklace, I learned a trick from my mom: use a piper cleaner instead of string or thread. Genius!

What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Photos/Albums/Year 1 Themes Colors

Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!

Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 3 - Nursery Rhymes

6,026 views2 comments


Laura Rennie
Laura Rennie
Jul 15, 2020

I just discovered your site. I'm going to start Playing Preschool with my 4 yr old in September and this will be a super helpful resource. Thank you for taking the time to share these suggestions!


Jan 26, 2020

This unit was so much fun!

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