[Complete Guide] How to teach your toddler to identify colours

Can’t wait to introduce the beautiful world of colours to your toddler? We understand your zest and that’s why here are few ways to embellish your kid’s world of colours.

Generally, children learn to identify colours by 18 months. They can name different colours by the age of 2.5-3 years. However, sometimes it can be frustrating for parents as teaching colours is not as easy as other activities, say like teaching numbers.

Why teaching colour seems complicated?

“Vihan can speak 1 to 10 and few alphabets, but when it comes to colours identification, whether I show him a blue object or green, he always defaults all objects as blue.” says the three-year-old’s mother Meera.

To teach your toddler to identify a toy, shoes or names of the vehicles may seem less complicated than to teach colours as the latter is an abstract concept. Colour is a visual perceptual property of any object.

Teach with everyday activities

“You can start teaching colours to your toddlers at as early as two year. Toddlers usually love bright colours. Start teaching them the basic colours first: Red, green, yellow, blue. Let them understand the concept of these basic colours before you go beyond these four colours.” says Asha, a child psychologist.

To stimulate these young brains is a tedious task and demands patience and creativity.

Here are 9 easy ways to teach colours to your toddlers:

1) Platter a colourful meal

“I involve my two-year-old in cooking and shopping at par with his age level.

While cooking I usually keep few raw vegetables in front of my son. He loves to touch and play with different vegetables.

When he asks me which vegetable that is, I say the name of a vegetable with colour. Say, red tomato,” says Jaya. Wonderful, isn’t it?

Understand your child’s interest and use that way to teach him/her the new concepts such as colours as Jaya does.

As you serve different foods, introduce the food items with its colour. Like green vegetables, white rice, brown bread, red pepper, yellow lentil soup, etc.

2) Songs and rhymes

According to studies, there’s a strong influence of music in a child’s development. Get a few DVDs of audio-visual animated songs and rhymes teaching shades and watch them with your child.

Cheer up your toddler by getting involved with him/her. Children tend to remember rhymes easily as it provides a practical example at a certain extent.

3) Compare identical objects

Your toddler is still learning new words every day. If you compare two different objects while teaching colour, you would make the process more complicated.

“It will be easier for a child to distinguish the colours of a red ball and a green balloon/ball than a red ball and green sweater. Comparing two identical objects will make the differentiation between the colours more clear,” says Divya, a preschool teacher at Little Diamonds School.

4) Games and puzzles

Other things that are close to children’s heart are games and toys. Get your child a few attractive and brightly coloured toys, puzzle games, alphabet blocks, colour matching and memory games etc.

If your toddler already has few of these, then pull those fun games out and let them play and explore their world of colours while even learning alphabets, numbers.

5) DIY colour books

How interesting would it be to give a modern touch to traditional learning! Ask your toddler to collect the objects of the same colour and then ask him/ her to draw them in a colour picture book.

You can even take the photo prints of the objects with the same colour and ask your toddler to paste them in the do-it-yourself (DIY) book. Your kid will definitely love to see this self-made book again and again.

6) Hand painting

Toddlers learn by touching various objects, more interestingly, of different colours. To enhance their sensory skills and creativity, engage your child in finger or hand painting.

This will pull his/her attention to different bright colours and he/she will be more interested to learn them.

You can use homemade finger paint, which is safe to use. If you are worried about cleaning after your child is done, drape a clean vinyl cloth on table where he/she is painting. This will help you to rinse the place easily and quickly.

7) Colour with crayons

Get the colouring books or give your child a few colourful sheets with the black-and-white illustrations and ask her to colour them with crayons.

“I let her pick the crayon of her choice and scribble with it on the paper, then label her choice with the name of the colour while she is holding, feeling the crayon touch to the page,” says Geetu, a working mother.

8) Favourite dressings

“My son loves a red tee and blue pant. Whenever he points out his favourite clothes, I always say him that even today you will wear the same red tee and blue pant. With repetition, he has learnt at least these two colours very easily,” says a mom, smiling.

Take advantage of the ‘favourite dressing’ phenomenon of your child and tag his/her favourite dressing with names of their colours.

9) Get close to nature

“Whenever we are outdoors, my princess loves to observe various things and animals around and asks me bundles of questions”, says a friend of mine, Dipika, a coordinator at Little Scholars Preschool.

She doesn’t miss this opportunity to teach her many new things. “My daughter points out and asks me the colours of the dogs on the street and this way she learns colours when outdoors,” Dipika continues.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Teach Your Kids Compassion Towards Animals

Getting closer to nature is another beautiful way to teach colours to your kid. You may introduce the colours of leaves, tree trunk, green grass, colourful butterflies, and various birds like a green parrot, grey pigeon, and so on.

These sure shot fun learning ways that 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.

How did/do you introduce colours to your toddler? Drop a comment and share your ideas with us!

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Having been part of the faculty at St Ann's School, Hyderabad, Riddhi now is a freelance writer. With Masters in microbiology from MSU, Vadodara, she took to writing for online forums after joining the motherhood club. She defines herself as a person full of life. In her free time, Riddhi is found socialising, crafting, watching off-beat film, or any masala/romantic flicks for fun. She now blogs for the Flintobox blog.


  • Zoe Campos

    August 5, 2020 - 3:53 pm

    Thank you for giving me the idea to use raw vegetables if I want to teach my son about colors. He’ll probably be old enough to be in kindergarten next year, but I’m still not sure if he’s mature enough to be left in an unfamiliar environment. It might be better to teach him some basics first before letting him enroll in a formal learning environment.

    • Riddhi Nath

      August 6, 2020 - 10:28 am

      Yes, giving the scopes to encourage learning is good.

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