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.
So at what age should your child learn shapes and colors?
Although, as a parent, you should introduce colors and shapes whenever it comes up naturally all through infancy, the rule of thumb is that 18 months is the acceptable age when children can developmentally grasp the idea of colors. Some may learn earlier, others not until they reach early preschool age, and children with vision impairments (like color blindness) may need extra help. In all cases, the concepts should be reinforced straight through to kindergarten.
Fortunately, the world is full of color, so you don’t need any special materials to reinforce the concept. Just by pointing out red apples, green leaves, blue sky, and yellow flowers, you’re demonstrating the idea of naming and describing objects. Sorting and grouping similarly-colored objects, such as a yellow rubber duck with a banana, or an orange with a carrot, can also help separate the name of the object from the color description in your child’s mind.
Naming shapes is a skill that takes a little longer to develop. Most children reach about two years of age before they can grasp the concept. Like all developmental stages, this mark is fluid. Generally, by three years of age, a child should be able to identify some basic shapes.
Start by teaching your child a few common shapes, such as squares, circles, and triangles. A slice of bologna or banana is a circle, a slice of cheese is a square, the television is a rectangle. Once mastered, you can move on to trickier shapes like stars, diamonds, and even octagonal stop signs. Like colors, shapes fill our world, offering up examples to make teaching organic.
Beyond Shapes And Colors
It’s a simple truth that learning shapes and colors is fundamental for more advanced learning. What makes objects the same and different is a basic of logic. Pattern recognition, a strong foundation for mathematical concepts, requires the ability to quickly recognize shapes. Being able to trace or draw shapes is a skill that must be mastered in order to write letters and numbers.
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.