Updated: May 17, 2021
The ability to identify colours is considered a milestone in a child's cognitive development. Recognising and identifying the colours by name is an important marker. The early identification of colours helps to create a cognitive link between visual cues and words.
18 months is generally accepted age for teaching colours. It depends on the child, some learn them sooner while some learn them later. As a general rule of thumb, 18 months-30 months is a great age to teach colours.
Teaching colours to toddlers are a difficult task. To teach numbers, alphabets to a toddler may seem less complicated than the latter as it is an abstract concept. Colour is a visual perpetual property of an object. Toddler R can recite 1-20, identify numbers 1-10, and recognise and say few alphabets but when it comes to colours he is always baffled although we initially taught only primary colours. I show him a blue or green object he defaults to as purple.
Children need to first acquire informational pieces before they can begin to understand colour as a concept. Along with learning what each colour is called, children need to understand what colour represents; it’s not size, nor shape, nor the name of the object, nor the texture, not the number of things showing. Constant repetition and expanding on what colours are and what they are not will help any child understand what the actual word colour means.
5 Easy Ways to Teach Colours to Toddlers
1) Colour Matching Games
Colour matching games are great to teach primary colours to preschoolers. You can make coloured cards out of any cardboard and place them on the floor or table, and get your kid to pick up matching colours. The same can be done with coloured blocks or balls with each day dedicated to a different colour.
Flashcards are an easy to go solution when introducing colours. Start with primary colours and work your way up. I use flashcards from our shop.
3) Finger Painting
Finger painting is an immensely fun activity to teach colours to 2 to 3-year-old kids. Children of that age are old enough to paint with colours, and you can start with one colour every day. The activity would be to let them have fun colouring while they tell you what colour it is. It goes without saying to use toxic-free colours and always supervise so that they don't mouth colours. I always DIY my colours so even if Baby R tries to put his fingers in his mouth mid activity it is totally safe. Mix food colour with yoghurt and you're good to go.
4) Colouring Books
Colouring in books is the simplest way to get kids to learn colours. Ask your child what coloured crayon he is using for each page when he’s having fun colouring. I let him pick a colour of his choice and scribble all over the page.
5) Games and puzzles
Other things that are hit are games and toys. Get your child a few attractive and brightly coloured toys, wooden blocks, shape blocks, alphabet blocks, colour matching and memory games etc. I DIY with what is available at home. We already had colour wooden blocks so I coloured them on a page and let Toddler R match it.
These sure shot fun learning ways will not only teach colour recognition and matching colours to your child, but will also improve their motor skills, hand-eye coordination and control, and language.
Links to resources;
Nirangal - Tamil Colours Book
Products from our shop: