How to introduce colour into early years teaching

The importance of colour in early years.

Babies begin to learn from the second that they are 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.

Where does colour come into learning and development? Infinite Playgrounds, designers and creators of playground canopies, investigate:

Colour and early years development

When a baby is born, they can only see in monochrome. Until around eight months when their colour vision is fully developed, an infant is 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 colour?

When a baby reaches eight months, it can be beneficial for them to be surrounded by different colours. 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.

Being able to identify the primary colours is important, but so is naming shades. Learning these allows children to recognise significant visual hues — such as red as a code for danger. It is useful outside of the curriculum too — for example; knowing the difference between a red and a blue coloured tap.

When a child is confident in naming colours, they become more able to read and write maturely. 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.

The Importance of colour in early years Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

Studies have suggested that colour can affect emotional wellbeing, productivity and behaviour 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).

A consideration should be made in the design of a classroom. Considering the right colour for a room can also help the teacher, as it 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.

Add more colour to lesson plans

Are there ways to introduce more discussion around colour into the classroom?

Talk about colour in a cultural sense. 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.

Heading out into the yard, colourful canopies and parasols can be props for a fun and visual class. 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.

If you teach the lower years of the school, adding colour to lessons is a great way to help with sensory development. 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.

In need of more ideas? How about colour eye-spy, colour-matching memory games or presenting coloured flashcards and encouraging pupils to name them?


Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have found this post useful on introduce colour into early years teaching.

If you liked this post, you may find my post on Teaching Tools to Raise Strong and Secure Kids helpful.

*This is a collaborative post

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