Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Teaching toddlers colors should be fun – here’s how

The world is fun of bright and interesting colors, and as your little one steps into his or her toddler years, the time is ripe for learning what all those different shades are. So, when should toddlers know their colors? Around 18 months of age is when toddlers begin to notice everything around them has different colors, shapes and sizes, making that a perfect time to start introducing your toddler to colors through play. Two years of age to three is when toddlers begin to grasp the different colors and are able to identify them. Teaching toddlers colors should be a fun and exciting experience, without relying on the use of flashcards. There are an abundance of cool ways to teach toddlers colors that are pleasurable for both you and your toddler.

Be verbal

A straightforward way to draw a toddler’s attention to colors is to talk about them. Tell your toddler the shirt is red as you put it on in the morning or that the duckie in the bathtub is yellow. Mealtime is also an ideal opportunity to point out colors. Make it a point to identify the colors of the foods your toddler is eating at each meal. For example, red apples, a yellow banana or an orange clementine. Doing this throughout the day helps young children learn to identify the different colors in their daily environment.

Toddler reading book with mom
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock


Reading daily to toddlers works to develop speech and other important developmental milestones, including color recognition. Add a few color-oriented books to titles you read together and make them available at home or in the car. Rereading books is a definite do with toddlers. As they become familiar with the text, toddlers will imitate it, which is a pre-reading milestone. Here are some fun color books to share with your toddler.


Color puzzles specifically designed for toddler hands are a perfect pick for getting toddlers to recognize colors. The puzzle pieces are large enough so you don’t have to worry about toddlers choking. Wooden puzzles can easily be manipulated by toddlers. While completing the puzzle, verbally identify the colors as your toddler puts in each piece. Jumbo floor puzzles with colors on them are another method to get toddlers thinking about colors as they working fine and gross motor skills.

Sorting objects by color

A wonderful hands-on activity to get toddler hands moving and working with colors is sorting. Sorting toys are a fun way to teach colors, but you can also do sorting activities with other objects around the house, especially food. Fruit Loops are yummy to eat and useful to sort by color before snacking. After grocery shopping, toddlers can help organize the fruits and veggies by color before the foods get put away. Play food can also be used for sorting. Rainbow bears are a preschool and early childhood classroom mainstay. The colorful bears are used to teach children colors, counting, and basic addition and subtraction. The bears are helpful to use at home for color sorting activities, too, but a parent or caregiver should be nearby because toddlers still like to put toys in their mouths.

toddler girl having fun playing with finger paint

Finger painting

Sure, finger painting with toddlers is messy, but it is an awesome way to get little fingers working and bring colors to the forefront for kids. Finger painting outside makes for easier cleanup, as does covering surfaces with newspaper and giving your child a smock.


An easel specifically designed for toddlers is a super fun way to get toddlers drawing and creating with colors. Many two-sided easels have a chalkboard on one side and a whiteboard on the other. Stick with different colored dry erase markers and chalk. Larger sizes are easier for toddlers to grasp.

toddler girl getting creative on a wall in the house

Sidewalk chalk, markers and crayons

Your toddler’s crayons won’t quit, and crayons and markers are fantastic for teaching colors and developing fine motor skills. Don’t bother with coloring books unless your child shows an interest. Toddlers mostly like experimenting with markers and crayons on paper. Make sure the markers and crayons are larger for little hands and non-toxic. Have a supply of different scrap paper and construction paper for your toddler to draw on. It’s probably not a good idea to leave toddlers alone with markers or crayons unless you want their latest masterpiece on your wall or furniture. Keep a supply of paper and crayons in a go-bag. It’s a great activity while waiting in restaurants. When the weather is pleasant, head outside to the driveway or sidewalk and let toddlers have fun with sidewalk chalk. While your toddler is drawing, be sure to identify the different colors.

Once your child reaches about 18 months, the world he or she sees starts to open up as toddlers begin to recognize colors, shapes, texture and the differences in the world around them. Toddlers love to explore and learn. Teaching toddlers about colors is fun for kids and parents. As you and your toddler move through the day, talk about the colors of familiar objects. This helps to develop color recognition skills. Books, toys, food, puzzles and other everyday objects are a lesson in color right at your fingertips.

Editors' Recommendations

Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
The best outdoor games for kids – try these fun, classic activities
Cool activities to play outside with kids
Kids playing games outside

When the nice weather rolls around, there's nothing better than getting the kiddos outside to run and play. It can be difficult these days because getting kids off the devices is always a challenge. Another obstacle is often the dreaded announcement of being bored or there isn't anything to do outside. Well, as parents, we know that's certainly not true, especially when there are a whole host of outdoor games for kids.

Having an array of fun and engaging outdoor games is always a perfect pick for the whole family, whenever you're hosting a party or when the kiddos have friends over for a playdate. The wonderful thing about outside games is that they are timeless. They take adults back to their childhood, and even teens enjoy taking a page from their elementary school gym class days.

Read more
What is a baby sprinkle (and how to plan a great one)
Why you should at least have a baby sprinkle even if you already have a child
Cake for a baby shower.

We all know the standard pregnancy celebrations. We've seen gender reveal photoshoots all over social media and have been invited or know someone who has gone to at least one baby shower. But what about when someone is having a second baby? Or is having the first girl after two back-to-back boys? Well, that's where having a baby sprinkle comes in handy. Whether it's been a few years since the last little one or you're having one of the opposite gender and only need a few items, here's why a baby sprinkle is the perfect way to welcome this new addition.
What is a baby sprinkle?

If you don't know anything about pregnancy parties, think of it in scientific terms. What is a shower versus a sprinkle when it rains? Not as much water for one as the other, right? Take that and apply it to a baby shower versus a baby sprinkle. Think of a baby sprinkle as that grocery trip where you only need the fillers, and you're not restocking the whole kitchen.
If you already have a baby
If you are parents to one child (or two or three), you probably have most of the stuff you need from the last child. But if there were items you wish you would have grabbed for the first one or you have a list of needs for this next baby, a sprinkle is the perfect forum to get those goods.
If it's been a few years since you've had a baby
Even if you already have a child, maybe this next one is a few years further away than you wanted or planned. A baby sprinkle is the best way to get those items you may have donated, lost, or broke with the first kiddo.
If you have only one gender but find out you are having the other
Have all boys? You will want a sprinkle to get some girl items. Have only girls? You might use a sprinkle to get at least one item that isn't pink. Not that certain colors are meant for boys or girls, but maybe you had a Minnie Mouse-themed nursery, and you'd like your first boy to have a new theme for their nursery.
Let's sprinkle the details
A baby sprinkle isn't going to be exactly like your baby shower. It's more of a low-key event, should be less stressful, and is less formal.

Read more
Plan a great family road trip: The best aquariums in the U.S. for kids
Your kiddos will have lots of stories to tell when they get home
Little boy sitting in front of an aquarium watching the fish

Sebastian said it best when he told Ariel that "life under the sea is better." Of course, we can't technically live under the sea, but the next best thing is a visit to an aquarium. If you're planning your family's next adventure, a road trip to an aquarium is a perfect pick, especially if your kiddos are fascinated by life under the sea. For families glued to the television during Shark Week, seeing sharks in person is a must-do task.

Thankfully, some of the best aquariums in the U.S. are actually just a road trip away and are in hot spots, offering families a super cool vacation. The top aquariums in the U.S. just happen to be in major tourist attraction cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago. So, if you're ready to see one or more of the most sensational U.S. aquariums in person, we've got the don't-miss list below.

Read more