Shapes and colors are an important part of early childhood education. When your child strives to identify and separate blue blocks from yellow ones, she’s learning more than curves, corners, and colors. She’s making new sense of the world and developing the ability to communicate it to you.
Your child’s ability to recognize different colors heats up at around 18 months, the same time he begins to notice similarities and differences in shape, size, and texture. But it will be a while longer before he’s able to name the colors; most children can name at least one color by age 3.
In the meantime, though, he’ll love to practice, adding new colors to his mental palette. And he may surprise you by knowing and identifying colors even if he can’t name them verbally. When you’re out doing errands together, play pointing and matching games. Say, “I see a red flower,” and wait before pointing to it to see if he points first. If he’s wearing a blue shirt, ask him if he sees anything else around him the same color.
Two-year-olds love looking at picture books of objects organized by shape and color. Start by asking him to identify things nonverbally. Say, “Can you show me the red square?” and let him point to it. As he begins to learn the names of the colors, you can reverse the game, pointing to objects yourself and asking, “What color is this triangle?” Either way, he’ll delight in showing off his knowledge.
When he’s wrong, just say the correct name of the color in an encouraging tone. There’s nothing like the sight of a child lighting up as she learns a new concept. Every child is born with the curiosity and skills to master the basics, but you can help them along by providing a rich environment and loving play.