Colours and shapes are important ways in which the world is described and categorized. Children notice that a pink flower is different from a white one and that a round bread roll has a different shape than a square slice of bread.

Teaching children about colours and shapes is a great way to help them learn some vocabulary for describing the world around them. This opens new and exciting avenues for verbal communication.

Sorting and classifying

As children learn to identify colours and shapes, they are able to sort and classify objects around them based on these characteristics.

Health and safety

Colours sometimes provide information regarding health and safety.

For example, red indicates ‘danger’ or ‘stop,’ such as with red stop lights, red stop signs and fire.

Colours can also tell us about health.

If a person’s skin has blue marks, it may mean they have experienced a bruise.

If a person’s skin turns red, they may have spent too much time in the sun.

And black marks on the wall could indicate the presence of mould.

Teaching colours

You can teach colours to your child through playful everyday life experiences. When children are developmentally ready, they easily learn their colours as you point out colour attributes of objects in their environment (e.g., “Throw me the red ball” or “Do you want the blue shirt or the orange shirt?”).

You can also ask your children to match objects by colour.

You can take children to the library and borrow books about colours to read and show to your child.

Teaching shapes

While teaching shapes, begin with the most common shapes such as squares, triangles, circles and rectangles before introducing complicated shapes like diamonds/rhombuses, hexagons and stars.

Try to teach shapes in organic ways. Show them and tell that a tire is round like a circle, the television is shaped like a rectangle and the slice of bread your child is eating is shaped like a square.

Consider buying toys that teach shapes through playful means.


Why learning colors and shapes is so important for young children[Internet]. Available at: Accessed on Mar 17, 2020.