How to teach colours to children? | Child development
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Our Button Nose | How to start teaching colours to young children?

Do you ever wonder why the teaching of colours is often emphasised in the preschool years? Well, the ability to identify colours is considered a significant indicator of a child’s cognitive development. When children learn about colours, they are developing their visual perception, which is the ability of the brain to correctly interpret what the eyes see. This ability to recognize visual cues forms the foundation for many other areas of later learning – such as maths and science. As a parent, you might be wondering, at what age and how should I start teaching colours to my children? To answer this question, it is important to first understand how a child’s colour vision develops.

how to teach colours to children

When to teach kids about colours?

Research has found that in the first few months of life, a newborn baby sees the world primarily in shades of black, grey and white. In other words, babies are born with monochrome vision. [1] Your child’s ability to see colour only starts to develop at four months old. At this age, you might also notice that they have a preference for bright primary colours, as those colours tend to be more obvious and hence stimulates their brain more. Around the age of six to eight months, a child’s colour vision is usually well developed. By three to four years, your child can begin to recognise and name a few basic colours.

It is important to bear in mind, however, that no child is the same. Kids learn colours at their own pace. That said, it is a good idea to start teaching the concept of colours from an early age. As soon as your child reaches the big milestone of turning one year old, you can start introducing the concept of colours to them. This is generally the age when learning colours will start to make sense to them.

Things to consider when teaching colours

Surrounded by a world of colour, there are tons of opportunities to discuss colours to your child. But before you start introducing colours to them, below are a few considerations to take note of:

  1. Start simple and don’t overwhelm your kid. When you first teach them colours, focus on teaching two or three basic primary colours- like red, yellow or blue. You can add on secondary colours such as orange, green and purple as your little one gets more comfortable with the basics.
  2. As a general rule of thumb, the more exposure, the better for kids. You want to give them many opportunities to hear you label the name of colours while seeing the colour. A tip here is to compare identical objects of different colours to help your child notice the attribute that makes an object different. For instance, when you emphasise that “this cup is blue,” and “this cup is yellow”, your child will be familiar with the differences over time.
  3. Distinguish contrasting colours. It’s best to use colours that are not at all similar to each other so you don’t confuse your children. You can point out contrasting colours during meal times or dressing or playtime. Try to only speak on the few colours that your kids are learning in order to make it manageable for them.

Consider hands-on activities to make learning fun!

Apart from the above, perhaps it is also equally important to consider how to make it an overall fun experience for your children. This means considering the external mediums or tools available to support you in your teaching process. One of the best ways for young children to learn colours is through hands-on interactive activities. From colour puzzles and card games, to colouring mats, there are plenty of fun activities to help you make the most out of your children’s learning experience.

More importantly, hands-on activities aim to provide a structured interactive platform for learning. They serve as an alternative platform to learning through everyday routine activities. Due to the higher engagement levels that hands-on activities offer, it helps children retain information better.

how to teach colours to children

Our Button Nose reusable silicone colouring mat is an example of a highly interactive learning medium for kids. Their mats are uniquely designed to include various educational themes infused with fun and relatable story characters to engage children. This allows kids to interactively and imaginatively play with their drawings while learning their colours!

Developmental benefits of hands-on interactive activities

These hands-on interactive activities also provide an array of benefits to your children’s well-being and development:

1. Safe for children’s eye

While using online video games and applications to teach colours has been getting increasingly popular among parents, this often requires kids to spend excessive time in front of computer screens. Engaging in too much screen time can be detrimental to your children’s eye health. A recent study done in 2019 found that children who were exposed to more than three hours of screen time per day had an increased risk of developing myopia (short-sightedness).

Using offline tools such as colouring mats or puzzles can be an equally effective and engaging alternative to digital screens. Furthermore, the portable feature of Our Button Nose colouring mats, allows you to keep your children entertained while dining outside or enjoying outdoor activities together. Importantly, they are a much friendlier and safer option for your children’s eyes.

2. Boosts creativity and fine motor skills

Engaging in hands-on activities also promotes kid’s creativity and improves their fine motor skills. Our Button Nose mats are not only meant for colouring; they are educational and tell a story with each scene. Parents are encouraged to guide children through each character and where possible, relate it back to the children’s classics of storytelling.

You can also encourage your kids to create their own storyline using the characters, which is a sure way to keep their creative juices flowing! Colouring also provides the opportunity for children to develop fine motor skills such as finger gripping and hand-eye coordination, all of which are essential for their developmental process.

3. Increases bonding time with your children

As compared to learning through digital screens or worksheets which are often performed on an individual basis, hands-on interactive activities can increase the bonding time between a parent and child. Parents can leverage on the interactive features to initiate conversations with their children and learn more about their perspective. This can lay the foundation towards fostering a positive-parent child relationship.

An all-in-one interactive and safe educational medium!

If you are looking for a fun and interactive medium to support your teaching of colours, Our Button Nose colouring mats can be a great starting point! Our Button Nose advocates play-based learning and their products are designed to capture every child’s imagination and provide them with a fun learning experience. The markers that complement the mats are also non-toxic, which makes it a super safe medium for kids! Eager to get your kids started on their colourful journey with Our Button Nose? Check out their colouring mats and bundle kits.


[1] Zuckerman BS, Augustyn M, Caronna EB. The Zuckerman Parker Handbook of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health; 2011.


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