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When can kids start to identify colours?

(41 Posts)
Devonlover Thu 23-May-13 14:50:57

My DS is 2.1 and can't seem to tell the difference between all the main colours - everything is red! he's got a good vocab and his speech is coming along really well so it's not that he can't say the words out loud, so i just wondered when he'll be able to start naming colours.

He's pretty sharp on most things, doesn't miss a trick really, so it seems kind of weird he can't tell the difference between say, a red cup and a yellow banana!

KBwan Tue 28-May-13 22:27:03

Seem to remember from my SLT training that by age 3 most children should be able to identify most basic colours correctly.

Children tend to focus on the function of objects rather than aesthetics of them.

duchesse Mon 27-May-13 08:55:31

article about colour in ancient Greece.

AmberLav Mon 27-May-13 06:36:37

Glad DS isn't an ancient Greek! At 26 months, the only colour he is consistent on is pink!

Onemole Sun 26-May-13 12:14:10

Re the 11 months thing -

Dd2 started pointing out the colours of cars while we were walking down the street. She spoke very early and clearly. We used to play 'spotting car colours' with Dd1 on buggy board and Dd2 joined in. She also liked separating clothes pegs by colour at this age.

There was an orange, a yellow and a pink car in our street as well as all the ordinary coloured ones. Dd2 was also very quick with shapes, numbers and letters (knew all about 16/17 months) including hexagons, pentagons etc.

Dd1 knew none of those things at that age and has just recently learnt numbers/letters/more complicated shapes at 5. She is bright and brilliant at loads of things which aren't really measured on mumsnet iyswim! Dd1 is also a very laid back child whereas Dd2 is seriously hard work!

headinhands Sat 25-May-13 19:32:40

Ahh, we're the slow-coaches of the thread then. <glad not to have toddlers and/or competitive friends>

headinhands Sat 25-May-13 19:27:20

I can only remember this milestone for my youngest and even then I can only say he wasn't secure at 25 months; everything was 'yellow'. Sometime between then and now he has mastered them, I'm guessing about 3/4?

VinegarDrinker Sat 25-May-13 18:27:21

Yes it was obvious to me when DS 'got it' as he could apply the colour names to anything. It's fairly easy to tell the difference IME.

TiredFeet Sat 25-May-13 18:25:44

agree Jolly ds's cars were identical so we knew he could distinguish, but also you can tell if you ask them about new objects / pictures too.

JollyOrangeGiant Sat 25-May-13 17:53:01

But duchesse, if you have a set of bricks that are identical except some are red, some yellow, some blue and some green then the toddler MUST be differentiating on the basis of colour.

Although DS accurately names a wide range of colours, at 25mo, he can't yet sort by colour. He just doesn't 'get' it yet.

VinegarDrinker Fri 24-May-13 18:51:39

In DS's case he got given a copy of Wow, said the owl at about 14/15 months and it stimulated his interest in colours. He spent a month or so pointing and squawking at everything around the house (highly irritating!) until we told him what colour it was. Within a month or so he had them all clearly - both recognising and naming. He then did the same for shapes, then numbers, then letters. It's just whatever catches his interest. I've never tried "teaching" him anything, we just answer his questions as they come up.

I think this is how all toddlers learn, isn't it? They just get interested by different things at different ages on an individual basis.

duchesse Fri 24-May-13 17:22:44

You see I;'m always a little hmm by people who say their child knew their colours by 16 months. You'd have to be using entirely identical items to be certain that they were telling them apart on the grounds of colour rather than any other feature. Also it would have to be replicatable iyswim, so the child that "knows its colours" would recognise them reliably with any other object. If for example you hold up a banana to illustrate yellow, and a strawberry to illustrate red, the child will say yellow when you hold up a a banana and know that answering yellow pleases the parent without necessarily knowing what about it is that makes it "yellow" rather than "blue". In that case the child would NOT know its colours.

DIYandEatCake Fri 24-May-13 16:54:31

This is really interesting! I've always considered 2.2yo dd pretty average (and slow with speech) but she has known her colours for a while and is very accurate - even down to 'dark blue' and 'turquoise' (dar-deese). She's had a favourite colour (purple) since Christmas and the first colours she learned were purple, orange and black. Am feeling quite chuffed there's something she's good at now! (OP there are plenty of things she is completely clueless about that I could start threads on - every number is 'two' for example, and she has all sorts of other things muddled up...!)

TiredFeet Fri 24-May-13 15:29:57

Ds knew all his by about 20 months. I bought a pack of different coloured match box cars for him to take on holiday and everyone on holiday would comment on whatever colour car he was clutching so by the end of the week he had learnt them all. But his nursery said children age 3 sometimes still don't know them, so I think it varies a lot

Devonlover Fri 24-May-13 15:22:10

Thanks everyone, seems there is no real 'normal' age but if he doesn't get it by the time he's 3, maybe I should be getting worried.

Oh, and I held up a banana this morning - DS said 'red' so I explained it was yellow - then a lemon, this also 'red', then I went back to the banana again, but no, still red!! grin

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 12:35:53

Anywhere between 2 & 4 is typical, ime. Very impressed by 11 months! shock

Ragusa Thu 23-May-13 23:07:21

DS is 2.7 and has very little idea about colours. He knows lots of colour names, and he knows that his sister likes purple, but cannot for the life of him recognise and name the colours of things.

I think he is busy learning other things. DD was great with colours and I am sure she could recognise them all by the age of 2, but she was hopeless with anything practical or mechanical, still is. DS is completely the other way.

duchesse Thu 23-May-13 21:49:24

All my children are very bright but none knew their colours reliably before 2. I remember ringing my health visitor in a panic because PFB couldn't tell the difference between yellow and blue at 2.1 and I was worrying about colour blindness. She laughed at me.

Colour is a social construct- it takes time to learn. Did you know the ancient Greeks had no notion of pink at all?

MiaSparrow Thu 23-May-13 21:45:51

DD was very young - 13/14 months, maybe. But only because she had an obsession with coloured clothes pegs.

MoelFammau Thu 23-May-13 21:28:23

DD first called everything 'yellow'. In fact, for her 'yellow' first meant Playdoh and paint because I only had yellow Playdoh at one point.

Belmo Thu 23-May-13 20:47:02

15 or 16 months I think, but her speech was really good. Huge range or normal I think!

juneybean Thu 23-May-13 20:43:08

DC3 is 18 months and starting to pick up on them, usually significant colours like yellow because their door is yellow.

ChasingStaplers Thu 23-May-13 20:41:51

My DD was just over a year but DS1 was nearer 2.
Get that Mo Mo song from Show Me, Show Me and he'll have them in no time (even indigo and violet smile )

MortifiedAdams Thu 23-May-13 20:39:09

Dd is 17mo and can recognise red, yellow, green and blue (picks the right one when I say "get the red/blue one" I mean), however if I hold out something and ask what colour it is, she says red grin

freetrait Thu 23-May-13 20:36:14

My kids were young, less than 2, but I think anything up to 4 or even 5 is quite normal! And also normal is when they start they call everything one colour. I remember for DS everything was blue grin.

noisytoys Thu 23-May-13 19:03:23

DD1 knew them all by 2

DD2 is 2.8 now and doesn't know any colours or shapes sad

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