As a general rule of thumb, 18 months – 2.5 years is a great age for specifically teaching colours to children. Some kids do learn their colours sooner and some learn them later but around 18 months is the generally accepted age for teaching colours to children. You should always be reviewing colours with your child though, all the way up to pre-school.
Start by teaching them the basic colours first: red, green, yellow, blue. Let them understand the concept of these basic colours before you go beyond this. Learning the colours of the rainbow with books or a song can hep too. It's all about repetition. You can help your child master the colours of the rainbow with these quick tips:
1. Use Props
While it may be difficult for a young child to grasp the concept of colours in an abstract sense, relating them back to everyday objects should help to drive the message home. Fruit works well with vibrant green apples, yellow bananas, red tomatoes and of course orange oranges! Try using sorting games, flashcards and even tidying away the Lego!
2. Read a Book
Leafing through the pages of an art book with your child is not only enjoyable, but will stimulate their creative learning. See below for our favourites.
3. Go for a Walk
Whether you see the rusty hues of autumn leaves or the vibrant yellow of a spring daffodil, a wealth of beautiful colours are all around us in nature. Take your child for a walk through your garden or local park and see how many colours you can spot together.
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4. Keep it Simple
Begin by teaching only black, white and the primary colours while your child gets used to the concept, then slowly introduce shades and patterns. Trying to explain the complexities of turquoise or the difference between mauve and violet to a three year old will probably both bore and bamboozle them.
5. Take it One Step at a time
Have an ongoing "colour of the week" scheme where each week you wear clothes, cook food and draw pictures using a shade of your choice. Try having a little recap each week on the previous colour to test your child's learning.
6 Great Resources that Help children Learn Colours
Who better than Pantone to learn all about colour? Pantone launched in 1963 with the Pantone Matching System, which enabled designers and printers to articulate and reproduce accurate colour anywhere in the world. In this, beautifully designed from cover-to-cover book, children are artfully introduced to 9 basic colours and 20 shades of each. This is no ordinary colour on a page learning book. Recommended reading age is 3-5 years.
THE SORTING TOY: Plan Toys Sort & Count Cups, £21.95 Babipur
This lovely set of five coloured cups and corresponding counters will help children identify colours -and count too - as they learn through play by putting the wooden coins into the correct cup. Made from eco Planwood and eco solid rubberwood, the set is coloured with eco paints and comes in a handy bag for storage. Suitable from 18 months.
THE FLASHCARDS: Colour Flashcards and Shape Flashcards, £6.75, Little Learners
Not just any set of colour flashcards! These multi-purpose, learning flashcards will grow with your child teaching them not only colours but shapes too. As well as aiding pre-writing skills and letter formation when the time comes. The box contains 10 double-sided flashcards that are wipeable and reusable too. Suitable from 18mths+
THE FIRST WORDS BOOK: My First Colours Let's Learn Them All Board book by DK, from £5.90, Amazon
An engaging first board book is perfect for early pre-school learning with bold, colour-themed pages and bright illustrations that will get your kids thinking and talking. With chunky tabbed pages to improve dexterity, easy to read text with names and descriptions to encourage language development and the fun-filled questions and activities, like "I-spy" as well as a colours, shapes, and patterns section, this is the perfect first colours books. Suitable from 12mths+
These lightweight, super tactile and eye-pleasing soft edge pebbles come in an array of rainbow shades to help children learn their colours, as well as shape recognition, counting, sorting, patterning, construction and stacking. Includes 20 double-sided activity cards to show colourful designs and ways to stack the pebbles and come packaged in a durable plastic storage case for easy clean up. Suitable form 3 years+
THE MATCHING GAME: Orchard Toys Red Dog, Blue Dog- A First Colour Match Lotto, £10.50, Amazon
A classic colour match lotto game to help teach children their colours. And, as you would expect from Orchard Toys, it's a perfect first educational game that can also be played in other ways with different ages. Made from durable, recycled board with a wipe-clean finish, this cute game also develops matching and memory skills. Suitable for ages 2-5 years.