Learning starts to take a place from the minute a baby is born. But stimulating a child’s mind and helping them develop their awareness are crucial to ensuring that they absorb as much as possible in the early years. What part does learning about colour play in your child’s development?
Colour and young children’s learning
When we are born, we only have monochrome vision. Until around eight months when our colour vision is fully developed, as an infant we are unable to distinguish the difference between colours. However, by ages three or four, a child can recognise basic shades — and frequent exposure can help strengthen this skill.
Why do children need to learn about colours?
When a child reaches eight months, it’s beneficial for them if they can see a lot of colour. This can help them make colour connections early on in life and experts have said that showing patterns to a baby is important, as it provides visual and cognitive stimulation.
Although learning the primary colours is very important, being able to name the different hues (navy blue, sky blue) is also significant. This can help them make colour connections early on in life and experts have said that showing patterns to a baby is important, as it provides visual and cognitive stimulation.
When a child has learnt the different shades, they are likely to become more confident in reading and writing too. Describing an object without saying its colour is difficult! Similarly, colour is an important part of descriptive techniques, so learning about colour also helps exercising their imaginations when creating a story.
In addition to educational benefits, research has proven that colour can affect behaviour and wellbeing too. Some experts claim that:
- Blue: encourages creativity and relaxation — but if overused, it can bring the mood down.
- Orange: promotes critical thinking and memory retention.
- Yellow: boosts mood and excites a child (because of its vibrant appearance).
Choosing the right colour to paint the classroom can create the ideal atmosphere for controlling a class and raising mood and productivity. Research has shown that colours are more memorable than monochrome too — a bright and colourful classroom makes new learning experiences stick in the mind.
How can you teach children about colour?
There are many ways that you can bring a focus on colour into class. You could discuss colour in a class on cultural differences. For example, red signifies good luck in China and green is a colour of independence for Mexicans. Encourage children to use colour to create their own national flags and teach them more about each country.
If you like to take your lessons outdoors, playground canopies and parasols make excellent props for fun visual teaching. Place them over areas of a playground where they’ll catch the sun to create different colourful patterns for the children to enjoy. Pupils can trace shadows of the patterns on the floor with chalk and learn how they move with the sun throughout the day.
Consider focussing on sensory development if you teach younger children. You can encourage this with colourful toys and playmats. Research has also highlighted the importance of messy play — where children can take part in unstructured play and get their hands dirty! Let them play with brightly coloured foodstuff, such as jelly, and develop their fine motor skills, too.
These easy tips are perfect ways to add a splash of colour to teaching. Need more ideas? How about colour eye-spy, colour-matching memory games or presenting coloured flashcards and encouraging pupils to name them?