What age should toddlers know colors

When Do Kids Learn Colors?

by Tony

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Kids Learning Colors

As a parent, you want to make sure your children stay on track developmentally. It can be easy to worry if you feel your child is behind. One concern many parents have involves learning colors. There can be a lot of misinformation and incorrect expectations when you just want to know, when do kids learn colors? To wade through the confusion, you need to know the timeline of development for learning colors and what activities can help your child advance.

When Do Kids Learn Colors?

Your child’s ability to see color develops by four months. Since that time, you probably noticed your baby loves bright colors. Attraction to these colors is common for babies and seeing these colors aids in their ability to discern color later in life. The time it takes kids to learn their colors varies just like any other development stage. No child is the same, but kids recognize colors around 18 months. This development continues through age two. By age three, most children should know at least one color. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that children know multiple colors by age four. Some kids may even know more colors than that, but your cue to know if your kid is on track or not is the ability to identify at least one color by age three. At the same time that children are starting to recognize color, they are also beginning to develop the ability to discern between sizes, such as big and small, and shapes.

Issues in Learning Colors

Some parents believe their children know their colors better than kids actually do. This is because it can be difficult for children to separate color from its object. If you use the same objects to teach and describe colors over and over again, your child likely associates the color name with the object. They do not understand the difference between the color and the noun of association. For instance, when you call an object a red ball, your child understands the entire name of the ball as red ball instead of separating the color name from the object name. Developing the ability to discern color from the object takes time. Many parents use shapes and colors together to teach their children about both. This is a great idea, but your child likely does not distinguish the green from the triangle. The color concept becomes too abstract for them to comprehend.

Another problem parents face is when kids know color words without being able to properly match those words to color. Keeping in mind that kids develop at different rates, many children develop linguistic abilities before they internalize color. Do not worry if your toddler knows and speaks color words but does not accurately identify those colors with an object. If your kid calls her red fire engine yellow, it is normal. Consider it a good sign that your child knows those color words already. Your job is to help your child properly associate language with a color.

Developmental Issues in Learning Color

Some disorders can contribute to slower development in learning colors. Children with an autism spectrum disorder might have problems in communicating that they know a particular color. Instead of knowing color words and not being able to give that color substantive meaning, a child on the spectrum can cognitively understand and identify colors but be unable to express the name of the color verbally. If your child has attention deficit disorder, it might be difficult to get them to pay attention when teaching colors. This can also lead to delays. For children with either of these challenges, try to avoid distractions and keep anxiety levels low when playing games or doing activities to help your kids learn their colors.

Colorblindness can also limit a child’s ability to learn colors correctly. Colorblind kids have problems distinguishing between particular colors. The specific problem colors can vary from person to person. The extent to which colorblindness affects someone can also differ substantially. The problem amplifies when multiple colors are on top of one another, such as a red bow on a green shirt. If you have concerns, it is best to see a doctor.

Different Aspects of Learning Colors

To understand how to teach colors to toddlers, it is important to keep in mind the different facets of color learning. When your kids learn their colors, it is more than memorization. They show the ability to identify, match, and name different colors. When you say a color out loud, your child should be able to choose the corresponding color. Your kid should also be able to see two objects of the same color and be able to put them together. Finally, your child should learn the correct name for each color. You might find that your child excels at some but not all aspects of color interpretation. That is okay, and development occurs in time. Your child has an easier time learning primary colors before venturing into different gradients of color. Start small when you teach your children about color and build on their knowledge over time.

Ways to Teach Your Kids Colors

1. Paint with Your Kids

If you are wondering how to teach colors to toddlers, a simple way to improve your kids’ abilities to understand colors is to interactively immerse them into it. Paint with your children. Start with bright colors like yellow or red, as young children naturally like those pigments. You can focus on one color a week to make it easier. As your child develops, add in more colors. Buy glitter glue, stamps, or craft items of the corresponding color that you can add into the mix. As your toddlers grow, you can talk about how the colors mix and form new colors.

2. Play a Color Sorting Game


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Make learning colors into a game with color sorting, such as Skoolzy Rainbow Counting Bears. It comes with red, yellow, blue, green, orange, and purple bears, along with coordinating cups. Kids can simply have fun putting the bears into the right cups and using the scoop to get the bears back out. You can also have your kid role the large dice to see which color bears to sort. Teaching your kids to sort is also an important development marker at age two. Let your kids come up with their own rules to the game as well. This game aids your child’s development by reinforcing the difference between an object and a color by giving them various objects of the same color.

3. Get Your Kids Active to Learn Colors

When you need a game that reinforces color learning that you can play indoors or outdoors, try something physical. Fill a bucket with colorful objects. Choose individual items that have a consistent color throughout to avoid confusing your kids. Try colorful hairbrushes or small stuffed animals that are all one color. Call out a specific color. Have your kids pull a corresponding item out of the bucket and run to you with it. You can make it more adaptable to the outdoors by using different color water balloons. Then have them run and throw it. Your kids will want to get the right colors to keep playing the game.

4. Use Color Matching Toys


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Matching colors together can help reinforce the concepts of internalizing color learning. Kidzland’s Color Matching Egg Setlets kids crack open an egg to see different colors. To put the eggs back together, kids have to choose the same color of eggs. As your kid grows, this can be useful for pretend cooking and learning to count as well.

5. Try Flash Cards to Learn Names

Along with other activities that help children learn matching and identification, flashcards can help with naming. A stack of cards with an object of a certain color and a written name reinforces the color words, especially as your child learns the alphabet and starts putting words together. When you go through the flashcards with your child, sound out and point to the words as well. Although you can use flashcards with any toddler, this is a great way to teach older toddlers about colors.

Your toddler learns colors over a substantial period of time. The rate of learning is different for individual kids. Use the guidelines of knowing at least one color by age three and several by age four as a quick rubric for your child’s development. There are lots of fun ways you can engage with your child to teach colors as well as technology like learning tablets. Try these methods to spur your children’s color learning and development.

When Do Toddlers Learn Colors? Experts Say There's Not A Hard Rule



by Cat Bowen

Children are constantly awash in a world of brightly colored toys and clothing designed to pique their visual interest from their infancy through childhood. Learning to differentiate between these shades is a huge developmental milestone, but when do toddlers learn colors? It feels essential that they recognize their bright red overalls as bright red, or that marker they've been sleeping with for three weeks as the perfect shade of yellow, right?

Like almost all of the major developmental milestones, it will happen in its own time, but there is a range that is considered average. Board-certified developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Eboni Hollier from Houston, Texas tells Romper, "Around 18 months of age, many toddlers begin to recognize colors." That's not to say that they're suddenly going to be strolling through Target with you, demanding that you buy them the turquoise socks instead of the green ones (that comes later). Hollier says, "It is typically a bit later that toddlers are able to name colors. Most children can name at least one color by the age of 3 years."

Even between my own children, there was a pretty vast difference between when they each learned their colors. My son was able to group and name colors from the moment he developed the language to do so. Meanwhile, my daughter took her time, and instead of naming colors would group them together. Even at a very early age, she had a hierarchy of colors that she liked. (Turquoise and purple: yay. Green and orange: get thee away.) She was almost 3 before she found the words for them.

Since then, my life has been an expensive comedy of errors due to her excessive need for everything to match head-to-foot, but other than that, she had no problems catching up with her brother. Hollier says that's because "the time that many children experience a 'language explosion' is between 18 to 30 months of age," and that it "is a great time to begin teaching many concepts, including colors."

Courtesy Cat Bowen

Melanie Hartmann, a former Head Start assessment psychologist, agrees with Hollier, telling Romper that most children "begin to name their first colors by 2.5 years of age" during that language explosion. If they learn to differentiate and name colors a little later than that, it doesn't mean that it's time to worry. Researchers wrote in Scientific American that, inevitably, parents want to compare their children to others, and if they notice that their children aren't developing as swiftly as others, they worry that there is something wrong. But it couldn't be further from the truth. While it is the case that if your child is falling outside average parameters there might be cause for concern (such as color blindness or a language delay), most of the time, it's nothing to worry about.

Color identification, according to the article, is a unique monster. Where there are ways to help children speak a little sooner, read a little sooner, learn math a little more quickly, Scientific American wrote that there is no way to move this along. It has to do with the complex system of how children learn words and language, as well as develop the visual acuity required to learn to differentiate between each color. It can be influenced by myriad factors, including languages spoken in the house, and the culture and community in which children are raised.

The concept is so difficult that it makes sense that children would need time to figure it all out. It is easy to believe that noting and noticing color differences is intuitive and natural, but that's not the case. If you're worried about your child, definitely talk to their pediatrician, but chances are, it's all fine, and you, too, will be figuring out how to special order soccer socks in just the right shade of banana yellow to match their jersey.


Dr. Eboni Hollier, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrician

Melanie Hartmann, former Head Start assessment psychologist

Learning colors: how to teach a child to distinguish colors and shades

It is generally accepted that by the age of three a child should learn to distinguish between primary colors. This skill is an important part of sensory development, it gives the child the opportunity to see the world in a new way. Often, if the baby does not know or confuse colors, parents have concerns about the pace of development of the child. Do I need to worry if the study of colors is not easy for a child? How to teach a child to distinguish colors? You will find answers to these questions in our article.

At what age does a child begin to see colors?

Studies have shown that children begin to perceive colors by 2-3 months. The first colors a child sees are yellow, orange, red, green. At this age, babies can already react differently to their toys of different colors (for example, a red rattle can please a child more than a blue one), look at bright pictures with enthusiasm. The baby's world quickly acquires colors, but if we talk about the ability to consciously find an object of the right color, then usually it appears in children at the age of one and a half. It is at this age that it is optimal to start learning colors in a playful way. You can voice the names of flowers to a child for up to a year, this will only benefit him. But do not demand too much from the baby, remember that his brain is actively developing, and as soon as the time comes, you will certainly see the results.

To see if your child is ready to learn colors by playing with building blocks, ask your child to point to a part that is the same color as yours. If the baby can find objects of the same color, then he is quite ready to memorize the names of colors.

Learning colors in everyday life

Children get most of their knowledge about the world in everyday life: communicating with adults and peers, observing nature, playing. The study of flowers is no exception. Sometimes a child does not need to do special exercises to learn to recognize colors. For this, it is enough that he hears the name of the color and associates it with a specific thing. During daily activities, voice for the child what color the objects are around. Whether you are drawing, playing with blocks, looking at cars in the yard, reading, swimming, eating, dressing - in each of these situations, you can gently teach your child to distinguish colors.

It is important that the study of colors does not turn into torture. You should not constantly test the child's knowledge by asking him which color is which. Soon the baby may just start to ignore you. “Let's paint the sun yellow!”, “What a delicious green cucumber!”, “Oh, where did the blue cube go? Here he is!" are examples of how you can gently help your child remember colors.

Games for learning colors and their shades

In order to get your baby interested in learning colors or to reinforce the knowledge they already have, you can offer your child to play special “color” games.

Color Sorting

Sorting games are designed to help children learn to group objects by color. Any materials at hand can be items for sorting: toys, covers, designer parts, cubes, buttons, cereals, pencils, etc. You can organize the game in various ways:

You can come up with as many options for sorting by color, it all depends on your imagination. So that the child does not lose interest in the task, connect the plot of the game with his favorite characters, toys (for example, a cat will eat from a yellow bowl, and a baby elephant from a red one, etc.).

Match a Pair

Help your child learn colors with the Match a Pair series. Ask your child to find a petal for a bug, a pot for a flower, a roof for a house, etc. You can present the baby with a deliberately wrong option and ask to correct the mistakes.

Pick up a patch

Show the child the picture with the missing details. Ask him to fill in the gaps (this can be done with plasticine, pom-poms, caps, cards, etc.).

Color Lotto

At the age of about one year, children begin to be interested in various lottos. In the color lotto, the task is to collect pictures of the same color on the card.

Colored Sensory Boxes

Create a sensory box for your baby where everything is the same color. During the game, the child will be able not only to remember the color that he sees, but also to develop fine motor skills, tactile sensitivity, thinking, and imagination.

Color days

This is one of the most interesting and popular ways to teach your child to distinguish colors. Its essence is that during the day (or several days) you draw the child's attention to objects of a certain color. For example, on a yellow day, you can dress in yellow clothes, play with yellow toys, draw a yellow chicken. Surrounded by one color, the baby will easily remember it.

Cards for learning colors

You can learn colors with your child using cards. With the help of Doman's "Colors" cards, you can introduce your baby not only to the main colors, but also to different shades. It is important not to overload the child with unnecessary information about the names of 10 shades of green or red. Learn only those shades whose names you can use in the game and life.

Board games for learning colors

Board games are a great way to learn about colors and consolidate knowledge about them. Currently, the stores offer a wide range of similar games for every taste and budget. Choose a game that suits your child.

Educational cartoons

There are many educational cartoons on the Internet that will help your child memorize colors quickly. Here is one of them:

Educational books

If your little one loves to listen to stories and look at pictures, this is the way for you. We all remember the wonderful story of V.G. Suteev "Rooster and paints", by S.Ya. Marshak has a whole “Colorful book”. You can also find many educational books that will become your faithful assistants.


We have listed for you different color learning games. In order for a child to master the concept of color well, it is worth adhering to a number of principles: do not rush the baby, provide a variety of material for games, discuss what you see.


You can start studying colors from an early age, the main thing is that it is interesting for the child. It is impossible to specify clear age limits when a child should learn primary colors. This process, like all development, is individual for each baby. The Sozvezdie Development Center has created a Montessori environment for kids, aimed at the comprehensive development of the child. In the classes "Together with Mom" ​​children in a playful way get acquainted with the concepts of color, shape and size, do thematic creative work. You can learn from our teachers how to interest a child in an activity and how to properly present him with cognitive information. Develop with us!

Prepared by a Montessori teacher
Sokolova Oksana

age norms for the development of intellect and features of learning

All parents are concerned about the age-old question: at what age should a child know colors? How to teach him to distinguish between them? What needs to be done in order for your child to learn to distinguish green from red? This and other useful information is in this article.

When a child can learn to distinguish one color from another

So, at what age do children know colors? Children can distinguish colors from the first year of life, but the problem is that the names can only be pronounced when they learn to speak. As a rule, children begin to speak only from two years after birth. So, what time should a child know colors? He names the basic colors as early as 2 years old, and some children may confuse them even at the beginning of school age. It's like understanding time by the clock (someone learned earlier, and some later).

When asked at what age a child should know colors, psychologists say that it is best to teach a child to recognize shades at the age of 2 to 5 years. As a rule, full color perception in children is formed before the age of seven.

At what age should a child know colors? Teachers recommend starting to study colors after a year from the moment of birth, although he will begin to pronounce them rather at 2 years old (since, on average, children do not speak until 2 years old).

How parents teach their child to recognize colors

Parents try different ways to teach their child to recognize colors. But they don't always get it. There is no universal advice. Each parent chooses for himself which method will be most effective. You can buy literature that describes colors, or multi-colored cubes, or show colors in everyday life.

Color Teaching Techniques

Make sure your child is ready to take in new information at the moment before starting the exercise. Offer your child a fun color sorting activity. The child will be fascinated by them for several hours, and at this time you will have time to go shopping.

Two or three colors will suffice for effective learning. Once your child is able to distinguish them clearly, you can add 1 new color each week. According to the scenario, the child must put the details of the same color in a separate container. You should try to have only green in one box and only red in the other, etc.

Establish a rule that items can be taken for sorting with tweezers or a spoon. If the child has successfully coped with the sorting of flowers, then you can already start learning.

Three-step lesson

In front of the child, parents lay out three identical objects, but in different colors. Here the child must determine what color each object has. To do this, the child is asked the question:

  1. They offer to name the shade on a particular object.
  2. Ask the adult to name each color in turn.
  3. Ask to name the tone of each item.

If a child makes a mistake, don't panic. At the same time, the baby cannot be corrected, but you just need to return to the previous stage and so on until the correct answer.

List of games for learning colors

There are 7 main types of games aimed at learning colors:

  • bright boxes;
  • pyramid;
  • constructor;
  • cards;
  • mosaic;
  • miracle butterflies;
  • magic rainbow.

Identifying colors using toys

By purchasing colorful toys for your child, parents can be sure that they will remember colors faster, as opposed to memorization. It is desirable that each tone be signed. Mosaic, pyramid and constructor are excellent helpers in this matter. Other types of entertaining toys will also help make friends with the color palette. Among them may be:

  • colorful buttons;
  • pencils;
  • coloring pages;
  • pool balls;
  • dry pool balls;
  • plastic fruits and vegetables;
  • cubes;
  • markers.

Visual aids and picture books can also help you learn colors. They can be found on the Internet, or in children's stores.


When the child recognizes the colors and shapes, he needs to reinforce the material. Items must be the same in shape and volume. They should differ only in color. If the thing has other differences, then this will frighten the baby in the early stages. Form sentences correctly when talking to your child about color.

It is not necessary to tell the baby that it is a yellow balloon or a blue butterfly, because he can perceive it as separate objects. It is necessary to express your thoughts correctly, because children at the beginning of their journey take everything literally. For example: here is a ball, and it is yellow. Then the child will understand that yellow is a separate distinguishing feature of a particular object, and the “yellow ball” is a separate object.

In addition, it is necessary to draw parallels with other subjects. For example, here is a yellow ball, but the chicken is yellow too. So he will quickly learn to distinguish the richness of the color palette. Also, many parents are concerned about when a child should know colors and shapes.

It is necessary to move on to acquaintance with other objects and colors gradually, because if you teach everything at once, the child will begin to get confused and will not understand where and what color. To make it easier to perceive new material, invite children to work with one color on a particular day. This can be done using the example of a rainbow. On Monday we work on the example of red, on Tuesday we study green, etc. The example of the rainbow is the most suitable, since the rainbow has 7 different colors, and there are also 7 days in the week.

Everything is simple and convenient. But such exercises should be carried out only after the children learn to distinguish at least 2 colors. And if you decide that you will work on the rainbow, then for the first acquaintance with the colors, try to pick up those tones that are not in the rainbow. This is so that the child sees that these are new shades for him, and he already knows the other 2-3 colors.

Also choose dishes and utensils for eating in the same tone. But if this is not possible, then try to choose similar colors, or those that your child already knows. The same goes for books. Then teach in the calendar to make marks in a specific color. This will help you quickly orient yourself and make a study plan for a few days in advance.

Special games

There are a huge number of games for the perception and discrimination of colors. All of them cannot be counted. As already mentioned, the most popular are games aimed at sorting different objects of the same shade. You can also show the child any object of the same tone and ask him to find it in the box. Also other methods:

  • unfolding buttons;
  • lids from homemade food boxes;
  • colorful toys;
  • also use your imagination to feed your toys with named sweets from objects (for example, from caps).

Blocks are also used to build towers. The tower must be of the same color. In addition, you can play the postman with your child, where he will deliver letters. Letters will be multi-colored squares made of cardboard. Each letter refers to the street with a separate color. It's like "Street of Broken Lanterns", only a children's version and without crime.

There is another option to play as a public transport driver (most often a bus, because it is easier for children to remember it). Each passenger is given a ticket of a different color. What color of the ticket, on the street of that shade, the client needs to be dropped off.

The toys can also go to a restaurant and order different dishes of the same color there. If the parents turn on the fantasy, then you can come up with anything else, there would be a desire.

You can also carve flowers, birds, plants and animals. You can also make other crafts from cardboard.

Another important aspect in learning colors can be creativity. It, like nothing else, develops the ability to memorize colors.

The easiest way to be creative is to draw. To begin with, parents buy their children a sketchbook and a set of pencils. In the process, give the children small tasks. For example, draw a tower, a house or a cup. You can draw whatever comes to mind. Then look at the results of the experiment. So you will see what colors the baby prefers, and also notice how correctly he depicts the world around him.

You also need to teach the child how to use paints, and show how you can get 1 new color from two colors. Your child will spend several hours a day on this entertaining activity.

At what age should a child know colors

Every parent should understand that a child can already begin to distinguish colors from the moment he just started talking. Therefore, you should not hesitate, but immediately, as your child was taught to speak, you need to start studying shades with him. This is an important aspect that parents should pay attention to even at preschool age. After all, if it is too late to teach a child to distinguish colors, then he can confuse them for a very long time and even get lost in space.

2 years. At this age, colors and shapes are familiar to him. If your baby remembers more slowly than his peers, you should not get depressed, because everything has its time. The most important thing is that he distinguishes the shapes of the main figures, then it will be easier with colors. He must first learn to distinguish between diamonds, squares, triangles and circles. So, what colors should you know at two years old? Children should be able to distinguish and recognize the following colors:

  • red;
  • yellow;
  • green;
  • white;
  • blue.

If everything goes well, you can show pink, orange and purple.


At what age should a child learn colors? As a rule, preschool age falls on the period from 5 to 7 years. Someone goes to school already at 5, and someone only at 7. But even at the age of 5, a preschooler is able to distinguish 2-3 shades of colors he knows. For example, dark green or light green.

At the age of 6, a preschooler progresses even more and easily distinguishes shades, and maybe also objects. For example, dark red cherry and light blue t-shirt.

The list of flower names that a preschooler should know is as follows:

  • lettuce;
  • raspberry;
  • turquoise;
  • lemon;
  • lilac.

At the age of 6, a preschooler already knows cold and warm colors, as well as their shades.

Many parents are concerned about the important question of what colors children should know at 7 years old. The answer is obvious: they must know and distinguish all the colors of the rainbow, as well as other primary colors and their shades. In addition, they need to be taught to distinguish between cold and warm colors (as indicated in the previous paragraph). They should also be able to obtain new tones by mixing paints. For example, after mixing green and red, you should get blue.


This article describes the age at which a child should know colors. The sooner the baby is taught to distinguish between them, the faster he adapts to society. From the moment the child begins to speak, he must be immediately accustomed to the study of basic tones. As a rule, you need to learn from the age of two.

The article describes all kinds of games with colors, as well as how to quickly learn to distinguish them from each other in different ways: from sorting to making sentences and highlighting shades.

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