Toddlers love to play “point and say” when reading a book, and this is especially fun when learning colors. When you have a book open, point to the picture and say the name of what you see –“red flower.” Or ask your child about the picture. “Where’s the blue ball?” Wait a moment and see if your child points to the object. Then you can exclaim, “There’s the blue ball! You found it!”
Children start to recognize different colors at about 18 months, the same time they are noticing differences in shapes, sizes, and textures. They won’t be able to say the names of colors, however, until much later, at about 30 to 36 months.
Children under two will enjoy books with just pictures of objects they can recognize that are either illustrations or photographs. There may not be a story in this type of book, just images. As they get older, children can play the same “point and say” game with books that have a story line.
By playing this game you are giving your child the words to name and describe their world. Here are some books with simple stories about colors to share with the young child in your life:
•“Red is a Dragon: a Book of Colors” by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin. Saturated colors and bold patterns on each page show objects in the life of an Asian girl and her mother. The text rhymes and has a great bounce to it. A glossary of Asian terms is included in the back of book.
•“Lemons are Not Red” by Laura Seeger. Each page has a cutout that is the shape of an object. At first the object is the wrong color (like a red lemon) but when you turn the page, the cut out has the correct color (the lemon becomes yellow!) Clever and engaging layout and design.
•“Follow Me” by Tricia Tusa. The girl in this book goes tumbling, swinging, soaring, and jumping through the colors of a landscape with the abandon of childhood. The text and watercolor illustrations are whimsical, soft, and playful.
•“Freight Train” by Donald Crews. If you’ve ever wondered what each car in a freight train is called, you’ll find out in this classic book, along with the names of all the basic colors.