How to Help Your Toddler Learn Their Colors

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Image via Julia Pelly

Toddlers begin to recognize similarities and differences in the colors they see around them when they’re around 18 months old but while some toddlers catch on sooner, it’s not uncommon for kids to turn three before they begin to name the colors they see accurately. If you’re interested in helping your little one learn their colors early or if they’ve passed their third birthday and you’d like to make sure they stay on track, use the tips below to help your little one learn their colors.

1. Name the colors all around you
Grown-ups aren’t used to describing things by color but watching and hearing you do so is a sure fire way to get your tot thinking about color. “Look at that red fire truck!” you might say as one speeds past you down the road or say, “I love our puppy’s brown fur!” as you cuddle up with your dog and toddler. Add color to your language and soon your little one will too.

2. Correct them gently when they guess wrong
When kids are first learning to label colors they’re likely to get it wrong for a while before they begin to get it right. When you ask your toddler what color the carrots are and she responds, “Purple!” praise her for trying and then remind her that they’re actually orange. As a bonus, look for an item of the color they guessed and point it out to them, “Good guess Abby, but the carrots are orange. Look at your unicorn doll, she’s purple!”

3. Color!
Many children learn best through doing. Let your child experience color by inviting them to paint or color with you. As you create your masterpieces, take turns naming colors and seeing what happens when you mix them. Proudly display your little one’s art on the refrigerator or tacked to the wall to make the activity feel even more special.

4. Be Patient
All kids learn at their own pace so if your little one has reached three and isn’t naming colors yet, do your best not to feel frustrated or to worry. In time, they’ll learn but for now, have fun, do your best to help them practice their colors and watch as they turn into little artists before your eyes. 

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How do you help your toddler learn colors?

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How to Help Your Toddler Learn Their Colors

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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