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When should toddlers identify/name colours?

(24 Posts)
twirlywoo69 Sat 17-Sep-16 21:13:10

I have one child and she is turning three next month. She is unable name any colour and just guesses or says pink for everything. She is good with counting and can say part of the alphabet, but just wondered when they start being able to name some colours? X

purpleme12 Sun 18-Sep-16 00:50:21

I don't think there's a specific and for this. Mine is same age she doesn't know her colours yet. It's just luck if she gets it right.

MadgeMak Sun 18-Sep-16 00:57:21

My 2.5 year old can count to 3 on a good day, no alphabet, random colour identification. Try not to worry, they will suddenly grasp it.

Out2pasture Sun 18-Sep-16 01:11:16

have you spoken to your gp about this, possible color blindness? just a thought.

LugsTheDog Sun 18-Sep-16 01:33:31

My mum taught at a school (admittedly in a very challenging area) and it was normal to have children start there without knowing colours. I think it's way too early to worry, myself. Keep using colours in statements as I'm sure you already do - "look at the nice red bike" and maybe try to avoid testing her if you can help it?

Miloarmadillo1 Sun 18-Sep-16 08:47:35

My son was very late learning colours, couldn't do them by three and certainly struggled well beyond the stage he could do shapes, counting, letters etc, and it turns out he is red-green colour blind. It's much more unusual in girls but worth considering if the situation is the same in another year.

twirlywoo69 Mon 19-Sep-16 09:04:40

Thanks guys. Maybe too young to worry. Really good advice from you all though, thanks loads lovely mammas xxxxxxxx

NickyEds Mon 19-Sep-16 16:28:34

Too young to worry. My ds is 2.8 and can identify several colours but he's speech delayed so has only just started talking. Colours just seemed to click so he can sort things by colour and bring me blue cars, green cars etc. Pre school said it's just one of those things that click earlier in some dc than others.

soundsystem Mon 19-Sep-16 22:39:45

I'm not sure what age is usual to know colours, but I got a really good tip which is to say the colour word after the noun, e.g rather than saying "look at the red car" say "look at the car, it's red!". Reason being, if they don't know colours at and you say "look at the red..." They don't know what to look at, so don't necessarily get what we're on about. Whereas if you say "look at the car...", they know what a car is so then they get what red is. If that makes sense! Worked for us, anyway!

Longlost10 Mon 19-Sep-16 22:45:41

Colours comes a long time after other things, it requires very specific developments in the brain. With objects, numbers, letters, etc, it is nothing more than recognition of something you can see. With colours it is totally different, you cannot actually see any colour except red until you understand at believe that it exists. So the colours we see actually depends on the language we speak, if your language doesn't have a word for that colour, you can't see it. Russians, for example, name several different colours that English speakers cannot differentiate between, and we call all of them blue. It is a very complicated neurological process, to develop the belief in a colour, and might not happen until aged 4, or even a bit more, and this would be considered within the range of normal. Keep naming them and using the colour names in normal speech.

steppemum Mon 19-Sep-16 22:53:44

there are 2 steps as well.
First matching like with like. So finding the blue ball to go in the blue box.

Second, naming them.

One is more a visual skill and the other is more verbal.

FriskyFrog Tue 20-Sep-16 17:04:03


What you say is not correct. Yes, some cultures have fewer words for something, so do not linguistically differentiate between them, but it does not mean they cannot "see" them.

For example, eskimos have many different words for different snow types. We do not, because we don't need them. Doesn't mean the difference between fluffy snow and hard packed snow us lost on us.

Longlost10 Tue 20-Sep-16 17:10:06

Friskyfrog, snow is totally different, and so is rain ( English has the most words for rain, probably!) because rain and snow can be perceived without anyone informing you that they exist, but colours cannot, if you don't don't know they exist, you cannot perceive them, you do not develop the neurological capacity.

Longlost10 Tue 20-Sep-16 17:15:38

There are some colours that you are born with an innate ability to see, black and white, and possibly red, although there is some controversy about red. For example, whether just pure red, or red/orange can be seen, and whether red and orange can be differentiated without being taught to, also pink has been studied a lot,and the possibly different innate differentiating abilities of shades of red/pink in males and females. Not sure myself, have not seen anything very convincing either way, but would be interested to know if it is true that woman can differentiate far more in this range than men. It does indicate that men had more input into our language if woman can actually see pink colours that have not been specifically named! Or it could be a feminist conspiracy!!

FriskyFrog Tue 20-Sep-16 17:17:30

OP, I think there is great variety in colour naming. My DDs can both name white, black, brown, yellow, red, orange, blue, green, pink and have done since about 18 months.

As someone said upthread, focussing on the obect first, then its associated adjectives helps, as does getting the same object in different colours, red car, blue car, red car, blue car etc.

Also, there are some great youtube videos for colour learning. My dds still love the train colour song video by little baby bum and name the colours as they come out.

Longlost10 Tue 20-Sep-16 17:17:35

we could test it out ourselves! Try it on your sons/daughters/ husbands are report back grin

FriskyFrog Tue 20-Sep-16 17:19:01

Longlost this just doesn't sound correct. Can you refer me to some scientific sources please?

steppemum Tue 20-Sep-16 17:22:54

longlost - I used to live in a culture which only used about 5 colours words. They could easily see the difference - just start talking about which T shirt should I wear with this skirt etc, but they didn't use a wide variety of words. Indonesians do not use any of the pale colour words we use (cream, beige etc) except for pink. Nor do they use different words for shades of colour. So many things from dark pink through to orange would all be called 'red.' All pale/pastel colours would be called 'white' But if I asked for a white t shirt to match my red skirt, they would have no trouble matching a pale orange T with my dark orange skirt for example.

Russians have 2 words for blue - light blue and dark blue. They are very specific about which colours fit which category. I have no trouble seeing which colours they mean, and althoguh I would describe them both as blue in English, I might also say, light blue, dark blue, sky blue, baby blue, turquoise, navy, airforce blue etc etc.

I do not see the colours as different, but my language may categorise them differently.

steppemum Tue 20-Sep-16 17:26:31

and if you watch a small child playing they start to sort and seperate colours quite naturally. Eg we had a box with coloured holes and coloured balls which went in the holes. At a certain point ds suddenly started to put the blue ball in the blue hole and the red ball in the red hole. His brain was matching colour.

Bizarre to suggets his brian could only see the difference if we told him blue was blue and red was red

Unicorn1981 Tue 20-Sep-16 17:29:29

Dd starting naming her colours at about 2 but we just used to talk about colours on everything we saw. She had a book called something beginning with blue. Basically I-spy with colours so we played that a lot! Only thing is she now only plays it like that!

Longlost10 Tue 20-Sep-16 17:33:46

Bizarre to suggets

bizzare to suggest something which is true?? just because you didn't realise it was true??

Longlost10 Tue 20-Sep-16 17:34:28

and if you watch a small child playing they start to sort and seperate colours quite naturally no they don't actually, that is the whole point

steppemum Tue 20-Sep-16 17:42:59

so longlost, if we can't see a colour until we are told it exists, who first saw the colour?
Because if no-one can see the colour unitl they are told it exists, then no-one can see any new colours?

As I said, Indonesians only use about 5 colour words, but they have no trouble seeing the different shades of red/pink/orange, they just call them all red.

When a child is sorting colours, they are matching - this is the same as this. They aren't going 'Oh it is BLUE so it goes with BLUE'

steppemum Tue 20-Sep-16 17:46:18

you see I live din a Russian speaking country for 8 years and no, there aren't lots of Russian words for blue that we can't see or distinguish.
There are 2, light blue, a particular type of light blue shade, not every light blue
and dark blue, used more broadly.
Any colour that we might describe as tuquoise would be green, as it doesn't fit the light blue category.

So, knowing that what you stated upthread about colours and Russian is wrong, I am afriad I don't trust the rest of your post.

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