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Color Recognition: A Short Guide For Parents

What Is Color Recognition?

Your baby just hit 18 months and you’re starting to wonder: What’s going on in their always expanding mind? The answer is so many things all at once! But, one of the most exciting things your little one is learning to understand is color recognition. For starters, it’s important to note that every child develops differently and at their own pace! Learning colors is one skill in a line of many developmentally important skills that your child will need to have before true color recognition happens.

What is true color recognition?

True color recognition is your child’s ability to identify, match, and name colors!

How can I help my child achieve this?

Helping your child achieve this skill takes time and consistency! That means those board books you read with them when they were in infancy are still valuable tools at 18-24 months. Other helpful exercises like; practicing understanding “same” and “different” can help guide your child to recognizing colors as well as many other things such as numbers and letters. It can be as simple as pointing out things in your home that are the same and different: “This rubber duck is big, this one is small”!

Another exercise is making sure they’re hearing these color words from you! From birth you hear how important it is to talk to your baby but as they get older you might not always know what to say. Continue to narrate activities for them and be intentional in your descriptions. Include colors in your talk and remember to be repetitive. These are only a few options for you as a parent to understand what exactly color recognition is but there are links to helpful reading materials in this post! Also linked are 3 helpful books that teach about color that will help you and your baby meet this milestone together.



1. Red is Best

We all have a favorite color--Sally loves red best! Follow her through her day as she talks about how the color red makes her feel in this color-themed book. I especially loved how red "put singing in her head".

Learn More: Amazon

2. Nicky's Walk

This book follows young Nicky on a walk and introduces the primary colors with various examples, always in the same order. This would be a great option for introducing a larger color theme or a segue into a color sort (primary colors vs secondary colors).

Learn More: Amazon

3. The Day the Crayons Came Home

One day, Duncan receives a strange packet of postcards in the mail from all the crayons he ever lost--the neon red crayon, the glow in the dark crayon, the brown crayon, and many more friends. Each of these crayons has a story accompanied by an adorable illustration. This funny picture book is sure to become one of your child's favorites.

Learn More: Amazon


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