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When Do Kids Learn Their Colors

If you were to ask a handful of individuals, when do kids learn their colors? Their answers vary, which makes complete sense. 

Learning colors is an involved process that takes time and sometimes patience. And every child is different. 

Some kids may know their colors by the time they’re 18-24 months old, while others may not learn them until they’re 3-4 years old. 

A child's hand with a finger dipped in red paint with other colors of paint next to it.

To honestly answer that question, here are some general guidelines, milestones, and activities you can try to support your child as they learn their colors. 

When Do Kids Learn Their Colors

While babies can already see shades of black, white, and gray, it’s around four months of age that they develop the ability to see colors. Especially the bright colors. 

a baby looks at a colorful mobile above his head.

You’ll probably notice your baby loves bright-colored objects. And visually stimulating this interest early on only helps their ability to recognize colors later. 

By two years of age, children’s curious minds are eager, and their in-depth perception and eye-hand coordination are typically well-developed.

This makes it one of the best times to start learning colors.

Generally speaking, many children learn to recognize primary colors (blue, red, and yellow) between 1-2 years of age. 

There’s no hard rule, however. Some children may identify colors faster than others, and the rate at which they learn multiple colors will vary on the child’s development stage. 

A toddler may not be able to understand the concept of color, but they should be able to identify at least one color.

They should be learning how to name colors and identify basic shapes. 

According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a four-year-old should know multiple colors. 

The Importance of Learning Colors

Having a Master of Fine Art in graphic design and being a lifelong drawer and creative, I really advocate the importance of art and creativity.

Learning colors early on will only help kids foster their creativity in later years as they expand their horizons to coloring, learning to draw, and more. 

Color identification and recognition are essential parts of learning as a kid. Identifying colors and their names helps kids develop their visual, cognitive, and motor skills.

Understanding colors also helps them communicate better by learning to observe, categorize, and describe the things they see around them. 

Issues Learning Colors

A young boy sits on the flower with his head in his hands frustrated looking at a color puzzle that is unfinished.

Grasping the basic concept of color and recognizing a shape is a developmental milestone.

From the blue sky to the green ball in the backyard to the red apples on the counter, kids should be able to distinguish which color is which. 

Suppose your child has difficulty verbally communicating the color names even if they know them or having trouble differentiating the difference between the red and yellow balls.

In that case, there may be some developmental issues to investigate. 

Some examples could be color blindness which can prevent them from learning specific colors, or autism, which can cause a delay in learning shapes and colors. 

Some other issues are kids associating specific color names with particular objects. For example, they may think “red” refers exclusively to an apple. 

However, with time kids learn the difference between a particular color and an object.

Language skills can also influence things. Some kids may know color words but need help understanding how to match them correctly. 

Tips On Teaching Colors To Kids

There are a few things to consider as you teach your kids colors. And it’s best to start with the basic colors. Let them learn to recognize the primary colors first. 

Try our most popular coloring pages for kittens and the Baby Shark show to help your kids learn about the basics!

There are lots of different ways and creative ideas to help your child enjoy learning colors.

There are ways to help them along the way. And teaching kids different colors is not only essential but can be fun. 

Kids learn colors best through fun activities, everyday activities, conversation, and hands-on exploration. 

Have them do simple activities like color matching, painting, and more to help them learn primary and secondary colors faster and work on their visual motor skills and pattern recognition.

Color Matching

A child holding a green card to match other colored cards in front of him that are colored and different shapes.

Have them try to match colors. In the example above this child is matching the cardstock shape to the matching color.

Another example of a simple and great way to learn color matching and can be done practically anywhere is to have them place the blue block next to the blue shirt. 

This works on their color recognition and allows them to practice their fine motor skills. 


a child sits with her parent choosing colors from a box to sort through to find the matching colors.

Sorting is a great way to introduce your child to colors. Take three boxes and label them red, yellow, and blue. 

Next, spread red, yellow, and blue items (use some of their favorite things!) in front of the ones. Now, ask them to sort them by color. 


A young girl's hand holding a paint brush and is dabbing colors of paint onto a a paper with a drawing on it.

Painting, and even finger painting, is a fun way to help kids learn colors and basic shapes. 

Of course, it can be a little messy, but that’s why they make washable paint!

Scavenger Hunt

Have your kid find objects around the house of a specific color. Or play the same game the next time you’re at the grocery store!

This can stimulate their minds and reinforce their confidence in the difference between colors. 

Kids mostly learn through association. Using colorful objects and associating them with different color names can be one of the best ways for them to understand their colors faster.

Coloring Activities

Color activities, such as coloring books and color words, are fun and great for keeping them busy. 

It can also be a good and simple way to introduce colors. This also strengthens their ability to focus and cultivate their creative talents. Which, in turn, can boost their self-esteem. 

Visual Aids

Another way to teach them colors is through visual aids. Consider having posters with pictures of objects and different colors. 

Use Nature Examples

A magnifying glass over a pink flower in a grassy meadow.

We’re living in a world of color! So make sure to take advantage of it. 

Take your child to the park or on a walk. Introduce them to the color names of different objects – the green grass, the brown dirt, the blue sky, the white flowers, and so on. 

Everyday Conversations

It’s important to bring up color in regular conversation with your young children.

Ask questions like, “Can you show me the red triangle?” Eventually, you can reverse the question, such as, “What color is the triangle?”

Over time, keep adding fun color questions to everyday chats. For example, “What color socks do you want to wear today?”


Don’t worry if your kid has yet to learn colors as fast as you expected. Each child is different, and they learn at different paces. 

Start teaching them about colors early on and allow them to gradually understand what colors even are before you start bringing the name of the color into the mix. 

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when do kids learn their colors

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