Make Learning Exciting with Color Activities for Toddlers

Wondering how to teach your 2 year old their colors? Or 3, 4, or 5 year old? Whatever your child’s age, they’re going to love these color activities for toddlers (featuring a FREE printable color activity!), written by an early education teacher.

I don’t know how it happened, but my daughter somehow knew all of her colors by two years old. I don’t remember doing a lot of kids’ learning activities with her- my older daughter just picked  up the color names on her own, and I didn’t think much of it.

So when my son didn’t know his colors at a few months past two, I panicked, thinking he was way behind.

Well, it turns out he’s not.

 So the first step for us was accepting that we did not have a problem, by any stretch of the imagination. But it did also make me realize I needed a plan for how to teach my 2 year old their colors, and as a result, I’ve been making a greater effort to teach him.

So if you are ready to start teaching colors to your child, we’ve got some The average child should be able to name at least one color by age three.

child sorting candy by color; text overlay: fun ways to teach kids colorsThis post contains affiliate links. You can read more at our legal page. Thanks for supporting The Salty Mamas!

What Age Should Kids Know Colors?

First up, toddler mamas- don’t stress too hard about your kiddo knowing their colors. According to the CDC, most kids can start to recognize different colors and grasp the concept by around 18 months.

toddler hands with paint on them

When it comes to naming colors, that begins around age three. The average child should be able to name at least one color by age three, and know most basic colors by age 4.

If your child seems “behind,” please don’t stress. There are lots of fun, low pressure color activities for two year olds and up that will make learning fun and not a chore.

A Note About Teaching Colors to Toddlers

Before we get into the color learning activities, you need to know that there are two ways for a child to “know” their colors. One, receptive, is when kids can identify a color when you give the name. So you might ask, “which one is red?” or “give me the blue one.”

toddler doing color themed art

Kids can also identify colors expressively, and this is the way we think of more often. So you might ask your child, “what color is this?” and they would give you the name of the color.

When you’re first starting out teaching colors, you may want to focus on receptive color knowledge first. You might be surprised to find that your kids already “know” their colors, just not in the way you expected.

Color Learning Art Activities

Art projects and experiences are the perfect way to get your kids learning in a fun, low pressure way.  As they color, paint, and draw, ask them to hand you the purple crayon, paint with the red paint, or tell you what color they want to use next.  Keep it fun and focused on the art, and your kids will learn their colors naturally before you know it.

Color Mixing Art Activity

In this amazing (and no-mess!) art activity from Fab Working Mom Life, kids will get the chance to mix and mush colors together. It gives you tons of language opportunities to talk about primary and secondary colors. And, on top of that, it lets kids play an active role in making colors on their own.

Toddler playing with pain in plastic sandwich bags; Text overlay: Mess-free sensory science color activity.

Monster Truck Painting

Staying on the theme of color mixing, this active art project lets kids blend primary colors into something new.  Talk about the colors as you pour them, and then let your kids take the lead.

monster trucks in color mixed paint

Process Art Activities

We’ve got a fun assortment of paint related projects you can try. Interact with your child as they paint, and encourage them to identify the colors they are using.

Rainbow Sun Catcher

We are loving this melted-crayon artwork from Me and My Mer Baby. It is hands on, exciting, and gives kids a chance to talk about, sort, and create with crayon shavings

Melted crayon panted onto parchment paper by toddler.And as an added bonus, it’s a fantastic way to use up all those broken crayons we all have laying around!

Related Post: Edible Yogurt Paint

Color Activities for Toddlers Using Sorting

Sorting colors is one of the best ways to teach colors to a two year old, and even for older kids.  Kids love the active approach to learning colors, and sorting is typically a big hit with the toddler set. Here’s a few ways to keep it fresh.

Colorful Pom Pom Sort

This pom pom sorting activity could not be easier to set up, and toddlers love the novelty of the container.

Egg carton half with sorted color cotton pom poms

Simply set out an empty egg carton (I cut mine in half so we could focus on six colors at a time) and place one colored pom pom in each section. Ask your child to match their remaining pom poms to the ones you placed in the crate.

Froot Loop Color Matching Activity

Abram LOVES this activity- mostly because he gets to eat the Froot Loops when he’s done! Draw six circles on a piece of paper, in the same colors that Froot Loops come in (or get your FREE copy here). I laminated ours so we could use it again, but it will work just fine without this step, too.

froot loops, sorted by color and about to be put on a string

Now ask your child to sort the colors into the matching circles. Use the opportunity to talk a lot about colors in the process, like “ooh, you found a blue one,” “put this with the other yellows,” or “you can eat a green one now.”

Sticker Sorting Activity

This activity was always a big hit with my toddler art class.  I’d put out four pieces of colored paper along with a bunch of these stickers, and kids would stick the dots to the matching paper. 

sorting colors using stickers

Sure, there were lots of errors. But perfection isn’t the point, talking about colors is.

Related Post: (Even More) Easy Preschool Busy Bags

sticker activity sheets

DIY Color Boards

Kids get the chance to sort the colors again, but with this activity from Every Day Above Dirt, they are sorting foam shapes onto magnetic cookie sheets. Most of the materials can be found at the dollar store, and these color boards can be used again and again to practice the colors at home.

Baking sheets with magnets while a child sorts.

Puppet Color Sorting Activity for Toddlers

Mostly Under Control brings us a sticker sorting activity with a twist. You’ll use dinosaur stickers and popsicle sticks to create little puppets that your child will sort into different cups

Plastic cups with different colored dinosaur stickers attached to popsicle sticks to be sorted.

There’s tons of opportunity with this color learning activity for both receptive and expressive skills, as well as a chance to engage in some pretend play.

Color Sorting Puzzles

We love this sort and stack color puzzle from Melissa and Doug.

 Wood puzzle with assorted colors and shapes to be stacked.
2 year olds and up can get hands-on with their color learning as they place the right colors onto each peg. Talk about the shapes and colors you are using as you solve the puzzle.

Hands-On Color Learning Activities for Kids

Toddlers love to get hands-on with just about anything, so why should colors be an exception? These ideas let toddlers take control of their learning with fun and engaging activities that will keep them busy while they practice their colors.

Color Drop

A twist on a classic, kids will drop index cards with color names on them into an empty oatmeal or coffee can.  You can make them using markers and index cards, or get a free set to print here  

an oatmeal can with a slit in the lid; flash cards

We recommend printing on cardstock and laminating so that your kids can use them over and over again.

I Spy Bags

You’ve got to check out this fun and easy ISpy Color Beads bag from Mostly Under Control. toddler using an ispy bag to practice colors

It’s an interactive sensory experience that will provide lots of fun as your child moves, shakes, and investigates the bag to find all the different bead colors.

Color Paddles

My son is obsessed with these transparent color paddles that allow him to view the world with different colored lenses. 


We use these like magnifying glasses, and I ask him to make the ball blue, the milk yellow, or the cup red by looking through the lens. You can use these one at a time, or let them switch between the paddles as they explore the house.


color mixing paint; text overlay: Fun and easy ways to teach kids colors.

Teaching toddlers their colors, and more to do with consistent, fun exposure to color activities for toddlers.  By integrating some of these activities into your toddler’s daily routine, they’ll have the colors down in no time.

What’s your favorite kids’ learning tool for the colors? Tell us in the comments below!

Looking for more fun ways to help your kids learn? Head here next-

sticker activity sheets

1 thought on “Make Learning Exciting with Color Activities for Toddlers”

Comments are closed.