When Do Kids Learn Shapes And Colors?

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Wondering when do kids learn shapes and colors? Here are tips, tricks, printables, for how and when to teach your child all about shapes!

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered when your child is supposed to learn shapes. I know I have!

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So, I decided to research it. I found all of the info you need to know about when, how, and why to teach your child about shapes.

Now, all you have to do is keep reading. Easy, right?!

Here’s everything you need to know!

Colored pencils that are every color of the rainbow and more.


Babies are born liking black and white the best. Crazy right?! I had no idea! As they grow older, they can start to notice different colors. Around 18 months young children are ready to see other colors.

Start by showing them primary colors like red, blue, and yellow. Then you can move onto teaching colors like orange and purple.

Some kids may learn at an early age and some a little later or not until preschool. Visually impaired kids will have a harder time learning colors and will most likely be older than the average child. They’ll teach colors in kindergarten, so don’t worry if your child needs extra help.

Teaching Colors

You don’t need anything extra to teach colors, because colors are all around us! Start by saying things like yellow banana and green grass in your every day life and your child will start picking it up. It helps kids learn colors when you use an object with the color like red apple, yellow sun, and green grass.

Once they know all of the colors, don’t forget to keep reviewing them! You don’t want them to forget them by the time they get to kindergarten.

Colors Activities

There are lots of fun activities to teach your child different colors! Here are some of my favorites.

Matching Colors: Cut out a matching colors worksheet like this. Turn them all over so you can’t see the colors. Take turns flipping two colors over to see if they match. Play the game until they’re all matched.

Sorting Colors: Get a bunch of different real-life objects. Have your child sort them by color into different groups.

Dye Pasta: Dye pasta using this recipe with acrylic paint or this recipe with food coloring. Then hold up a piece of pasta and have your child tell you the color. You can also say a color and have your child find a piece of pasta the same color.

Name That Color: Point to an object that’s blue and say “blue”. Then have your child find something else that’s blue. Do this with all of the colors. Your child can also take a turn pointing to a color and you can find something else that’s that color.

Food Coloring: Put a couple drops of food coloring in water bottles with water in them. Have fun letting the kids shake them. You can even mix the colors for extra fun! That is a great way to keep your child’s attention and help them learn color recognition!

Green, blue, pink, and yellow lids with a purple background.


Shapes are harder to learn than colors. Some studies show that the time babies are one year old, they can recognize basic shapes.

Kids are usually around 2 years old before they can understand shapes. So, 2 years old is the perfect time to start teaching shapes to your child. Have no fear if you’re child isn’t ready at age 2! Lots of kids learn them around 3 years old.

It’s easiest to start with just four basic shapes: square, circle, rectangle, and triangle. Just like with colors, you can point shapes out in the world around you. Say things like “A cookie is a circle” and “This block is a square”. This will help your child start to notice shapes in their environment.

By three to four years old they should be able to have a basic understanding of shapes. Four to five years old should be able to recognize shapes like diamonds, stars, hearts, ovals, and pentagons, hexagons, octagons, and as well a variety of shapes.

How To Teach Your Child Shapes

The best time to teach your toddler about shapes is around 2 years old.

Start with basic shapes, and then move on to harder shapes. The easiest way is to buy shape toys that have different shapes them. While you play with the toy with your child, just say the names of the shapes as your child holds them.

If you don’t already have a shape toy or want to buy one, try doing some of the activities I’ve listed below to help your child learn. They will all help with shape recognition.

Try not to get upset if your child struggles. That’s totally fine! Instead, try a different shape activity and see if that helps.

Lots of different shaped pastel blocks.  These are perfect for teaching shapes.

Shapes Activities

There are tons of fun and simple activities you can use to teach your child shapes!

Name that shape: Point to a shape and ask your child “What shape is this?” Switch things up and have your child ask you “What shape is this?” Have them say all of the shape names.

Spaghetti Noodle Play: Cooked spaghetti noodles and put a few of them on a cookie sheet on your dining room table. Make various shapes and have you child say the name of the shape. Kids will love this!

Shape Sorting Games: Get a bunch of things from around your house and put them in a pile. Have your child sort them into groups of triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles. This is such a fun game! You can even add a new shape once your child has mastered the basic shapes.

Shape Sorter Toy: There are many toys for toddlers that include shape sorting. Email me or comment below if you’d like some suggestions.

Shape Walk: Hide cut out shapes around your house. Give your child clues until they find all of the shapes. This is a fun change to look at things in your house in a new way.

Draw Shapes: Have your child draw shapes with paint, crayons, in sand, anything else you can think of. They can make the shapes out of play dough too!

Shape Scavenger Hunt: You can download one online or make one of your own! Just draw shapes and put colors on a piece of paper and go for a walk. Have your child circle the shapes and colors they see in their real life.

All of these are great ways to help your child learn shapes. They will have fun learning new shapes!

After Shapes And Colors

After you teach shapes and colors, the next things to work on are nursery rhymes, songs, and sensory activities. It’s never to early to start teaching nursery rhymes or songs. Both are amazing for young children.

Kids can start to memorize nursery rhymes between the ages of 3 to 4. Start by singing the songs “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Mary Had A Little Lamb” with your child. Most kids naturally love singing and I’ll bet your child will love singing with you!

And I promise, your child won’t care if you’re a good or bad singer. They’ll just be happy singing with you!

Next, you can teach them sensory activities. Sensory activities are my favorite! Kids love them, they’re so fun, and they help expose kids to lots of different textures. This is my favorite play dough recipe, dyed rice, dyed pasta, play dough kits, and edible dirt recipe. Young kids will love these! Actually, any and all kids will love them. They’re so fun to play with!

Mom teaching her son and daughter how to paint with lots of different colors.

Why Is It Important?

You might be thinking, so why is learning shapes so important? There are many good things about learning shapes. Here are a few:

  • It helps them describe what they see in the world around them.
  • Identify skills
  • Helps child’s development
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Organizing
  • Symbol recognition
  • Memorizing
  • Observing
  • Sorting
  • Problem solving
  • Math skills
  • Builds connections between things they see and unfamiliar things
  • Decision-making skills
  • Helps cognitive skills

The Bottom Line

Children most of the time are ready to learn colors around 18 months. They also learn shapes around 2 years old. As they get older, they can learn more advanced shapes like diamonds and stars.

There are many benefits of learning shapes. There are also lots of fun ways to teach your children shapes!


Should 2 year olds know shapes?

Two years old is the perfect time to start teaching your child shapes!

Do 4 year olds know shapes?

Yes, 4 year old should know the shapes, but each child is different.

What shapes should a 3 year old be able to draw?

A three year old should start working on drawing circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles.

How many shapes should a 4 year old know?

A four year old should know at least 10 shapes.

Final Thoughts On When Do Kids Learn Shapes And Colors:

I hope you liked reading about teaching your child shapes. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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