9 Strategies for Teaching COLORS to Toddlers (2024)

Are you trying to teach your child the beautiful colors of the world?

It’s kind of hard, huh?

When I started teaching my kids colors, I had no idea that it could be more complicated than learning the alphabet or numbers!

But it makes complete sense. Toddlers are learning to identify SO MANY new objects like shoes, apples, balls, etc.,

And then, we add the element of color to each item.

That’s pretty high-level thinking for these kiddos!

For a frame of reference, Most toddlers can learn how to differentiate colors by 18 months old. However, it takes them a little longer to be able to name the colors. This milestone typically occurs at 2.5 or 3 years old! But remember that these ages range DRAMATICALLY between different kids, so don’t panic if your child is a bit behind.

Do you want to teach your child about the beautiful colors of our world?

In today’s post, I am sharing 9 ways you can teach your toddler the colors!

#1. Focus on one color at a time.

I don’t know about you, but opening a brand new pack of Crayola crayons is one of my favorite things to do!

In that box of crayons, there are many colors to choose from, and the massive amount of choices can become a problem. To keep a toddler from being overwhelmed, it’s best to have them choose one color that is their favorite.


By focusing on only one color at a time, the child will be able to identify that color more clearly.

When your child has picked out their favorite color, allow them to get some of their creativity out! Grab a piece of paper or coloring book page and show your toddler how to scribble with the crayon.

Make sure to point out objects inside and outside the house that are the color that they chose to make a connection to real-life things.

Once they have mastered one color, move onto another color.

#2. Sort objects by color.

Do you want your kids to be organized like Marie Kondo? YES PLEASE!

Learning how to sort things can help organizational skills! Sorting activities are great for learning that things can be different and the same.

Sorting colors

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I like to use a paint tray for sorting activities because it separates each colored item. If you don’t have a paint tray, you can use cupcake tins or even just different boxes or Tupperware containers!

In the beginning stages of sorting, you should label what color item you want the toddler to place in each section, so it’s easier for them to figure out.  Also, start with only 2-3 different colors to sort then add more when they get the hang of it!


The great thing about sorting activities is that there are endless possibilities of items that you can sort. Some examples are pom poms, colored paper clips, beads, colored goldfish crackers, marbles, Fruit Loops, M&M’s, and Skittles.

You can dump out the items of your choice out on the floor or table and show the toddler how to separate the things in different sections.  Ask them to finish what you started! It may take them a little bit of time to catch on, so be patient and give them positive feedback.

#3. Play with color learning toys.

When I first began teaching my children colors, I didn’t use any toys. I thought it’s best to use art supplies to teach them about the colors!

But after my son started coloring with markers all over my kitchen floor, I needed to come up with a better plan.

Through play and everyday experiences, children will learn their colors if a parent or caregiver helps teach and interact with them!

Here FIVE of my favorite toys that help children learn their colors!

A. Color Fun Fish Bowl

toys that teach colors to toddlers

There are two functions on this toy. It can explain what color each fish is when it’s put into the bowl, or it will ask the toddler to find a color and place that fish in the slot. My son enjoys putting the fish in the slot, which works on fine motor skills too!

B. Counting Bears with Stacking Cups

Counting and Learning Colors Bears

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The counting bears work on several different skills (colors, sorting, and patterns). The counting bears are excellent for older toddlers and preschool-aged children!

C. Think & Learn Smart Scan Color Chameleon

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SO INTERACTIVE! The color chameleon lights up and changes its color depending on what paint splat it touches. Kids can also scan other things around the home too, and it’ll light up that color, which is AMAZING! Lastly, the chameleon has a game mode that has several different options for preschoolers, so this toy is excellent for long term use!

D. Melissa and Doug Fish Colors Mix ‘n Match Peg Puzzle

color puzzle

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It is no secret that I love Melissa and Doug learning products. I honestly feel that all of their puzzles helped my kids learn not only their colors, but the ABC’s, numbers, and shapes!

E. Color Matching Egg Set

Color matching and counting egg matching set

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These color matching eggs not only works on color matching, but it also works on counting. These eggs are one of my son’s favorite toys right now!

#4. Break out those art supplies!

Letting your toddler play with crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paints is one of the BEST ways to introduce the world of colors to them.

Recently, my son has discovered our dry erase markers, and he LOVES scribbling all over our dry erase board! This simple activity keeps him busy for 15 minutes!

Like I said earlier though, make sure you keep your eye on them if you give them any markers, crayons, etc. because things can get out of hand quickly 🙂

Need some inspiration?

Here are THREE easy and fun ideas that I have done with my kids that focus on learning the colors!

A. Plastic Bag Painting

painting to help teach toddlers colors

I have been teaching my son the colors by doing a color of the week project. To keep things less messy, I tried finger painting through a zip-lock bag.

B. Cotton Ball Painting

how to teach toddlers colors

You need a picture to paint, cotton balls, wooden clothespins, kids washable paint, and a paint tray/cupcake tins work too!

C. Rainbow Art

For the older toddlers and preschoolers, this rainbow project is perfect for learning the colors of the rainbow!

Rainbow activity

For this project, you need Fruit Loops, cotton balls, paper, and glue.

#5. Try Mess-Free Art!

What if I told you that you didn’t have to clean up after an art project?

You don’t believe me, do you? 

There are days that I don’t feel like wiping down all areas of my kitchen because of an art project. If you’ve never been introduced to the Crayola Mess-Free collection, you must check these items out!

The inks and markers from these 3 products WON’T stain skin, furniture, or fabrics!

A. Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Moana Book

These coloring books are the BEST on the go activity. We bring them on airplanes, take them to restaurants and in the car!

Need extra mess-free coloring markers?

B. Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Activity Set

activities to teach kids colors

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My son got this set for his second birthday, and we used it immediately at a sporting event we attended! This is a great on-the-go activity when you know your child may be bored within a few minutes.

This set comes with 5 markers, 15 coloring pages, 2 sticker sheets, ink pad, and 4 stamps!

C. Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Magic Light Brush

Mess Free Painting Station Crayola

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The paints for this set will only work on the color wonder paper provided.  The paint is clear, but when it brushes on the color wonder paper, it will turn the color that is in each container!

#6. Point out colors that you see!

This strategy is one of the BEST ways to teach the colors to your toddler!

Everything in our world has color, so make sure to point colors out to your children!

When explaining colors to a toddler, show them a specific object, and tell them what color it is. “Look at that tree, it’s leaves are green,” “Take a bite of this red apple,” or “that bicycle is blue” are some examples of how you should describe an object to a toddler.

When you want to start checking for understanding, you can ask them questions like:

  • “Find me the purple flowers,”
  • “Show me the orange ball,”
  • “Can you bring me the brown marker”?

This is a more advanced skill because the child will have to choose the specific color you are asking for.

#7. Check for understanding.

Asking your toddler questions about colors is one of the most critical parts of the learning process. You will have no idea what they know if you don’t ask them questions.

Want to see an example of a way to check for understanding with colors? Take a look at this video of me asking my son questions about colors using pom-poms.

If your toddler makes a mistake while you are checking for understanding, make sure to provide them with corrective/ positive feedback.

In the video, you see that my son loses interest for a few seconds. Follow their lead when you are working with them and then try to pull them back in to see if they’ll continue. Trust me; you will be able to know if and when they are completely checked out 🙂

Does your toddler turn around and play with other toys when you try to ask them questions?

Think about when you were in school, and a teacher picked on you randomly when you weren’t ready to answer. That was THE WORST, right?

books that teach toddlers colors

If your toddler doesn’t like to answer questions every time you try to check for understanding, that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to learn or they don’t understand the information.

They may want to show you differently what they know.

For example, if your child is playing with a color puzzle and they can match the colors together, then you know they are understanding colors.

Keep encouraging them by explaining each color as they play, and they will become more confident when being asked questions!

#8. Read color learning books.

We all know how essential reading is at every age! These first learning books that talk about colors are perfect for toddlers to start to learn.

Here are THREE of our favorites!

A. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Book colors

This book is one of my son’s favorites! If your toddler loves animals, this is the book for them. At the end of the book, all of the animals are pictured at once, which is an excellent time to point out colors and check for understanding!

B. Little Friends Sound Book: Colors by Roger Priddy

Color book

Looking for something more interactive? Little Friends Sound Book: Colors has buttons on the side that your toddler can touch to match the colors on each page!

 C. Mix it up! by Herve Tullet 

This book is for older toddlers and preschoolers. It’s wonderful for children that have a good grasp of the colors already because it talks about blending colors to create another color!

Personally, I’d choose this book because you’ll get the most use out of it for future learning! 

9. Get moving!

Are you looking for a way to get your child active while learning?

The following THREE color games will keep your toddler staying up and moving while working on their colors!

A. Color Scavenger Hunt

You can create your own scavenger hunt worksheet or use the one I created below!

Ask your toddler to find a specific object like “run and grab me a green leaf,” or you can be less specific and say “gallop to the garage and find something blue.” When they complete a task, check it off and go through all the colors with them!

Have a basket of all the items they collected and review at the end! They will love looking through everything they found.

Adding locomotor skills for older toddlers will excite them! These are movements such as skipping, running, leaping, galloping, sliding, walking,  and hopping.

B. Bean Bag Tossing Game

how to teach colors to toddlers

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These beanbags are colored and have the name of the word written on them. You can work on color recognition for younger ones and sight words for preschoolers!

One of the best things about this game is that you can work on throwing and aiming skills.

To play with these bean bags, you need first to find a laundry basket, small trash can, or corn hole board! Then ask your toddler to pick a specific color and throw it in whatever container you have chosen.

C. Color Hopping Game

games that teach toddlers colors

Take sidewalk chalk and make large circles with each color chalk that you have. Ask your toddler or preschooler to hop to a specific color.

After they reach that color, you can have them hop to another color, or you can have them perform a different locomotor movement.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Teaching your toddler colors is a fun but challenging adventure!

It’s essential to focus on one color at a time, play with color toys/art supplies, and point out colors daily. Try to mix up the activities that you do with them to keep them engaged and excited to learn!

I would love to help in your journey teaching your toddler colors. Whether you need some creative ideas or you need more helpful suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Also, I’d love to know:

What are your favorite ways to teach colors to toddlers?

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