What You Need:
Colored Toys (rings, cones, cue cards, balls, buckets, etc.)
Colors are one of the first things we learn. Riders may not understand left or right, but they often understand colors. I love to play with colors in my lessons. I use colors as directional cues, as rewards for riders, as games, and just for fun. There are countless ways to use colors but today I’m going to talk about two of my favorites: for directions and for color coordination.
Directions: I like to use colors as a way to signal directions and next steps to my riders. I often do this through rings and cones. I ask riders to go to the purple cone, whoa there and complete an activity. Then they move to a red cone for another activity and so on. This is great for riders who are not familiar with colors or have a hard time grasping different colors. It is also helpful for riders who do not like to follow directions. I find riders more willing to participate in an activity if I bring colors into it. A rider might not want to go to a cone, but s/he loves the color blue and wants to go to the blue cone. For more advanced riders, we can ride a rainbow pattern. I set up colors around the arena and the rider needs to go to each color in order of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
Color Coordination: This is another of my favorite way to use colors. In this case, I ask riders to match colors together. This could mean getting a yellow ring and bringing it to a yellow cone, or getting a blue ball to place in a blue bucket. I often spend a few weeks on this task, changing it up each time. I will start riders with one color, so they need to get all the green toys into a green bucket or on a green barrel. The next week, we put green toys in a green bucket and blue toys in a blue bucket. The next week, the colors get mixed together and riders need to separate out colors one at a time: first red, then yellow, then green, etc.
I find that my riders really enjoy these games. It keeps them entertained and engaged the entire ride. Most of my riders also like to share their favorite colors, other items that are that color, and what they learned in school about the colors. Colors also engage side walkers and helpers and keep the conversation going throughout the lesson if a rider gets bored or nervous.
What creative ways do you use colors in your lessons? Leave a comment below and let me know!