When Do Kids Learn Shapes and Colors?

when do kids learn shapes and colors

My son loved sorting blocks from a very early age.

He quickly grew bored with a standard shape sorter and graduated to a more advanced one with multiple shapes on all sides.

I was a new parent and didn’t realize how important the simple activity of sorting shapes was.

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When Do Kids Learn Shapes and Colors?

Children can start learning colors as young as 18 months. They can begin learning basic shapes at around age 2. Most children who are cognitively on track will probably know most shapes and colors by the time they reach their preschool years.

When Do Kids Learn Colors?

baby playing shape blocks

Children learn how to identify objects based on simple descriptions. Words like “big” and “silly” are common descriptors used by those children who are developing vocabulary and awareness at the same time.

Most children are walking and talking before they reach 18 months, but it’s the 18-month-old brain that begins recognizing objects.

Learning colors helps children understand the world around them and communicate about items with more clarity.

How to Teach Kids About Colors

Parents may go through some trial-and-error when it comes to teaching their children.

Some kids learn better through touch, while others learn well from watching videos. I prefer teaching through books.

Books that focus on color, such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” can help your kids learn their colors.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Henry Holt Company
  • Martin Jr., Bill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Little ones love looking at themselves, so I also made a board book for my kids using pictures of them on different color backgrounds.

I then added photos of other common items in the color of that page. Because I live in a multilingual household, I added color labels in both English and Spanish. Those books are now keepsakes that my children treasure.

When Do Kids Learn Shapes?

Shapes are a more difficult concept to grasp than colors. Most children will not start learning basic shapes until they are two.

Their understanding of shapes varies greatly from that point. Most children won’t learn to manipulate shapes until they are five years old.

However, your two-year-old might be able to point out a square or a circle even before you start shape learning.

How to Teach Kids About Shapes

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Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorter
  • CREATIVE SORTING GAME FOR KIDS: The Melissa & Doug Shape-Sorting Cube Classic Wooden Toy is a beautifully constructed wooden toy with 12 bright-colored, easy-to-grip shapes.
  • CLASSIC LEARNING ACTIVITY: This ever-popular shape and color activity is sure to engage children. Each shape is designed to fit through a matching hole on the wooden cube.

My son’s first shape sorter was a plastic bucket that was suitable for ages six months and over.

With the blessing of his pediatrician, my husband bought him a more advanced wooden shape sorter when he turned one.

Though the toy is built for ages two and up, our one-year-old was captivated by it. He learned new shapes like “wombus” (rhombus) and “ovovo” (oval).

Carson Dellosa Colors and Shapes Flash Cards for Toddlers Ages 2-4 Years, Primary Colors and Basic…
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 54 Pages – 03/15/2006 (Publication Date) – Brighter Child (Publisher)

When my daughter came along, she couldn’t have cared less about shape sorting.

We tried a book about shapes and flashcards. None of this held her interest.

Finally, I realized that she loved drawing and watching me draw. I started drawing shapes, which suddenly made them interesting.

About Kid’s Developmental Timelines

Hopefully, you live in an area that offers Parents as Teachers. If you do, sign up as fast as you can!

Your parent educator will help you learn if your child is developmentally on track and they will give you fun tips to help them learn and grow.

Another good option is to talk to your child’s pediatrician and to consult experts like the CDC. When using these timelines, it’s important to remember that children don’t necessarily follow them as precisely as you might wish.

For instance, my shape-sorting son wasn’t talking until he was 15 months old. He could match the shapes well, but he didn’t tell us about it until he was ready.

My daughter started laughing at eight weeks but she didn’t start sleeping through the night until she was about 18 months old.

Watch timelines to make sure your child doesn’t need intervention but don’t worry too much if your child isn’t exactly on track.

Key Takeaways

Those early years are an exciting time for learning. Shapes and colors are some of the first concepts children understand. It is your job to help them learn in a fun, loving way.

Do you have any questions about teaching colors and shapes? Ask them in the comments!

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

Your child will start recognizing shapes and colors when they are 2.5 to 3 years of age.

Children will learn colors and shapes at roughly the same time.

Many 2-year-olds will start recognizing some shapes.

Your child will start recognizing shapes and colors when they are 2.5 to 3 years of age.

Children will start recognizing most shapes by the time they are 3 years old.

Learning colors and shapes will help your child start to understand math geometry concepts, such as how an object relates to the space around it.