When do kids learn colors

When Do Kids Learn Colors? Teach Your Kid Colors in a Fun and Engaging Way

At one point I feared my daughter was color blind. That’s because when I was teaching her colors, she would confuse yellow and green colors all the time. I even read on which colors are the most confusing for color blind kids. Fortunately, green and yellow were not on the spectrum and about 2 weeks later, she finally started to recognize the two correctly, what a relief!

And you know what, I wasn’t the only one, check out this post:

A mom's worried confession about her toddler not distinguishing colors at 3
A mom’s worried confession about her toddler not distinguishing colors at 3/Source: Facebook

To save you from similar fears, here’s an article that will explain when do kids learn colors, why it is important to teach them and how.

When Do Kids Learn Colors?

Kids start to differentiate between colors in their infancy i.e. by 4 months, your baby should be able to see bright colors. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that it’s attracted by toys, and objects that are bright.

Most kids should be able to fully recognize the color palette by 18 months but that’s not a fast rule. Every child is different and develops skills in different pace and phases so even if it doesn’t know them all, you shouldn’t worry. If they can differentiate between a few then it’s all good. If you were wondering when should kids know colors, the age 4 is considered the latest phase of the color learning period.

Nevertheless, it’s essential for a parent to assist their children in learning the colors. This doesn’t mean that you have to schedule classes for your child but simply practice colors through games in a fun and engaging way.

Different color pencils

Why Is It Important for Kids to Learn Colors?

Here are some reasons why:

1. Colors Are a Basic Foundation for Learning

Everything around us is made of colors, shapes and sizes and that’s how we categorize the world.

We learn at a very young age that the grass is green, the sun is yellow and that the sky is blue. But these are all abstract concepts and most children know them inherently without being able to understand what they are. However, they first learn colors by associating them with certain objects. My son for example, used to associate red with tomatoes, and yellow with bananas, so when he’d see a red toy he’d say “Mommy, that’s a tomato truck”, or “That’s a banana shirt”. And this is natural, it means that the child has recognized and remembered the colors but it just needs time to distinguish between the object and the color itself and learn that the names of each are fixed.

2. Colors Can Help to Stimulate a Child’s Brain

Colors are important for stimulating a child’s brain development. It’s widely known that colors affect the emotions, mind clarity and energy levels. When color is transmitted from the eye to the brain, this hormone is released which affects the entire central nervous system. Colors can have different effects on the brain depending on their temperature. Blue is believed to increase productivity, while red stimulates brain activity. Cool colors like green are calming and have a creative effect, while warm colors like orange are happy and motivational. In addition, color preferences develop during childhood and change as a child gets older.

3. Colors Help Children Develop Their Skills

As I already mentioned, color are everywhere around us and we as humans have tied universal meanings to each color. By learning colors, kids develop different skillsets.

Different colors are often associated with different meanings. E.g. red and yellow might be associated with danger while green and blue might be associated with safety. Teaching children about the meaning behind colors and deeper associations helps them decode their environment more effectively and communicate with others better.

Furthermore, kids who know about colors can better process information and develop essential skills for math. By solving color puzzles in particular, toddlers learn how to solve math problems that involve logic and organization.

Additionally, teaching colors to kids can develop their language skills in several ways. For one, colors can be used to better identify words and ideas. Additionally, colors can help kids to relax and destress, which can in turn lead to improved communication. Finally, colors can also help children remember information better. All of these benefits work together to help children develop their language skills.

Color sorting activities help children develop problem solving skills by teaching them how to recognize patterns and identify differences. Puzzles that are sorted by colors can also help children learn this skill.

Finally, colors help kids to develop their emotional skills by providing a way to express emotions. The Learn with Sesame Street app helps children learn about emotions and how to use colors to express them.

A toddler with different colored toys

How Can You Teach Your Kid Colors in a Fun and Engaging Way?

When introducing colors to young learners, it’s best to start with the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Use fun activities and games to help your child understand and remember the colors. As your child becomes more comfortable with the concept of colors, introduce other colors. Use positive reinforcement techniques to keep your child engaged in learning about colors.

There are so many ways you can teach the colors to your child, and it doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Here are some that I’ve tried with my children and that we really liked.

1. Creating Associations

When teaching colors to your child, it is important to start by identifying and labeling objects of different colors. This will help your child associate colors with objects, making it easier for them to understand and separate the color from the object. You can help your toddler understand colors by using the color words before and after the noun for an object. For example, you could say “The apple is red” or “The ball is blue.

2. Sorting

Then, have them group items by color and sort them into baskets or shelves. This activity reinforces the separation of the color name and the noun object. You can also ask them to find all the “red blocks” and put them in a specific place. This is the first step.

Small balls of different colors

3. Pointing

The next step is to have the child point out the color in random objects. Pointing colors helps children understand colors and scenarios. Naming colors is essential in the learning process and is the most important step. Games such as “I Spy” and “Pointing Colors” help children learn colors quickly and without pressure. Learning colors can be a difficult process, but it is worth it if your child enjoys it.

4. Exploring Nature

Once you’ve practiced creating associations, sorting and pointing, you can introduce the colors of nature to your children. While exploring nature, introduce colors together and help them identify the colors they see and use descriptive words to describe the various shades (e.g., light blue, dark green, etc.). Engaging in outdoor activities and exploring nature can be a fun and educational way to teach kids about colors. By engaging in outdoor activities with your child, you can help promote a love of nature and learning in children.

A little girl smelling a flower

5. Playing the iSpy Game

One way to explore colors with your child is through a game of “iSpy”. This game helps kids learn to identify colors and develop math skills by matching colors they see in nature. To set up the game, find different colored objects in nature such as flowers, leaves, or grass. Point out each object to your child and have them identify the color. As you play “iSpy”, your child will develop a better understanding of colors and their names.

6. The Matching Game

Another way to teach kids about colors is through a matching game. Collect different colored objects from nature such as flowers, leaves, or grass. Place all the objects in a bag or container. Have your child reach into the bag blindfolded (or with their eyes closed) and feel for an object. Once they have found an object, ask them to identify the color without looking at it. If they get the color correct, they can keep the object; if not, put it back in the bag. This activity will help your child learn to match colors and improve their motor skills.

7. Sing a Song

Singing a song is a fun way to help teach colors to kids. The activity is easy to do, and it’s a cheerful way to learn more about colors. Songs with educational content can help teach children about colors. You can find the songs on YouTube or in the Learn & Grow app.

8. Recognize Colors in Books

Books are a great way to teach kids about colors. There are a lot of amazing books about colors available, so choose one and spend some time reading it with your child!

While reading, you can also ask your child to point to things that are different colors. This will help them learn to focus on details and practice their visual discrimination skills. Some great books that will teach kids about colors include Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, A Color of His Own, The Day the Crayons Quit, Baby, See the Colors!, and What Makes a Rainbow?

You can talk about the different colors in any picture book not just ones specifically about colors. If you engage your child in the discussion while reading, they will learn more from the experience.

9. Fingerpainting

Fingerpainting is an activity that kids will absolutely love and can easily turn into a family tradition. Tape paper to a table so the toddler doesn’t pick it up, and let them spread the paint with their fingers. Primary colors (red, yellow, green) can be mixed together to create secondary colors. Choose two primary colors and let the toddler mix them together to create new colors. Clean up any messy hands when finished, and enjoy your beautiful art project!

A child's hand colored in blue. They've been fingerpainting

10. Design a Color Scavenger Hunt

Designing a color scavenger hunt for kids is a great way to review all of the colors they have learned. Kids can search around the house for different colored objects and mark them with a pencil or pen. They can tell you the color of each thing they find. To make it more fun, you can have them hunt for things that match the color of the object they are holding. Start with one or two colors until the kids understand the concept, then add more colors as they get better at it.

11. Color Stories

One way to help your child learn colors is to focus on a new color each week. You can incorporate the color into everything you do that week. For example, you could read books about the color, cook with foods that are that color, and play games that focus on recognizing the color. There are many ways to make learning about colors fun for your child.

10. Color Photography

The last learning colors games on our list is for older children who already have a solid foundation and want to learn additional color variations. By using different color schemes, such as the Munsell Analogous and Complementary Color Harmonies, children can learn about how colors are related to each other. Additionally, by studying saturated colors in artworks or weaving colorways, kids can develop a better understanding of how colors work together. Grey is an especially interesting color to use when teaching kids about colors because it can be used in a variety of ways. Ultimately, using color photography as a learning tool is a great way to engage kids in the world of color while also helping them develop critical thinking skills.

10. M&M’s

The best one? This! Use M&M’s and make her say the color before you give it to her. Brilliant! Haven’t tried it, but sounds like a fun idea!


To answer “At what age do kids learn colors?” – Children start discerning colors as early as in their 4th month of infancy. They only sharpen their color recognition skills as they grow up depending on how much learning input they’ve had. Colors are everywhere around us and they are the means through which we decode the world we live in. Everything on the Earth has a particular shape, size and color. For this reasons, parents should invest time in teaching the color palette to their children, and these activities don’t have to be complicated. Whether you practice sorting, matching, coloring or fingerpainting, you’re doing right and you’re helping out your kid grow into a smart one.


1. What are some fun and engaging ways to teach your kid colors?

There are many fun and engaging ways to teach colors to kids. Some interactive ways include singing songs about colors, playing matching games, and using everyday objects to help explain the different colors. Toddlers will often learn best by seeing the color being used in a real life situation.

2. What are some color learning games for kids?

There are many great online color education tools available for kids. Some require children to have some reading ability, while others are more interactive and video-based. For example, Color Relay is a game where players race to collect different colored blocks. Color Scavenger Hunt involves hunting for specific colors of squares on white paper sacks. For older kids, you can add secondary colors and have them collect items in their bag that match the colored squares. This game is quick and easy to play, using colored sheets of paper. The goal is to make it to you first.

3. What are some color mixing activities for kids?

Playdough and paint are great ways for kids to mix colors and learn about how they work together. Introducing color mixing activities to toddlers can help them learn about color and creativity. Activities like puzzles and dress-up can be added to make the activity more fun. This article offers step-by-step instructions for mixing colors with kids. The article is easy to follow and provides helpful tips for coloring with kids.

4. What are some color recognition activities for kids?

This activity is a great way for kids to review the colors they’ve learned. You’ll need a sheet of paper, colored pencils or crayons, a pencil or pen, and a basket or bag. Have your child draw boxes with different colors on a sheet of paper, and quickly review the colors with them.

Have kids search for objects around the house that are each of one or more colors. After they find something, have them mark it with an X or check through the box corresponding to its color. Have them keep searching until they have a basket or bag full of colored objects.

5. What are some color books for kids?

There are many great color books for kids that can teach them about colors and visual discrimination. Some excellent choices include “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “A Color of His Own” by Eric Carles. These books are enjoyable to read and provide children with an opportunity to learn about different colors.

6. When do toddlers learn colors?

Most toddlers learn colors between 18 months and 2 years old. However, when do kids learn their Abcs and colors depends in reality because some kids may need more time to learn them. Exploration and play are important for helping toddlers grasp the concept of color. If your child can identify at least two or three colors, they are likely on the right track developmentally.

7. What Are the Colors That Preschoolers Should Know?

Preschoolers should know:

1. Primary colors: red, yellow, blue

2. Gradients: colors that are a mix of two or more primary colors

3. Other colors: brown, black, white, pink, purple, orange

8. How and When Do Kids Learn Colors?

Children learn colors in three stages: matching, identifying, and naming. The first stage, matching, is when children learn to match similar objects. The second stage, identifying, is when children look at pictures or objects and try to guess their color. The final stage, naming, is when children learn to say the color’s name out loud. Help your child learn the names of colors by having them identify familiar objects and scenes in everyday life.

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