26 answers

3 (Almost 4) Year Old Doesn't Know Colors.

My son will be 4 in January and STILL doesn't seem to know his colors. When he is asked what color something he is he always says "green" or "red" without even looking at what you are pointing at. I can't figure out if he doesn't what it means to have a color or if he truly cannot distinugish one color from another. Anyone know of a way to determine this?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

How much have you worked on this? Is he in preschool? It's not uncommon for three year olds not to know all the colors yet. I work with three year olds. Make a game out of learning them......when you're driving...find something..."GREEN" or "RED". Make them OBVIOUS at this age......like a stop sign, etc. This helps them learn to focus, too.

Talk about it with laundry, lunch, at the grocery store, etc. Make a learning experience out of ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING! Do the same with math......how many stop lights until we're home? Then work on subtraction in the same way until you GET home.

You'll be amazed at how well prepared they are for school if you take EVERY experience to interact and help them learn!

Can he match alike colors? That is a good starting point to see if he can identify the differences in colors.

hello
Try asking him in a different way... lay out the basic 8 colors and ask him to hand you the red,the green, the blue and so on. if he gets some right dont work so hard on them if he dose not know any get him tested for color blindness if you think that is the problem. but some time when you ask the children what color this is they give you a answer if they know it or not so that you will stop asking. make up color games by going out side and playing i spy and let him ask the i spy as well so that he feels that he is incharge of the game to

More Answers

Hi,
He could be color blind. It's actually more prevelent in boys than girls. I am a teacher & taught a 1st grade boy with it several years ago. He was learning to read the colors on the crayons when he colored.
H.

Take him to the eye Dr. When I had my 3 older children, 2 girls and 1 boy, at an appointment when they were younger the Dr did a color blindness test on my son, having the girls watch to make sure he was telling the right color. The Dr said that color blindness affects boys more than girls. Good Luck!

Since he doesn't even look to see the color of something, I think he probably just doesn't care. I wouldn't force the issue, just periodically throw in color identification by having him go and get something of a certain color. Boys go through stages where they will throw out an answer because they don't care. My son would put 1 line on a coloring sheet and say he was done coloring. It didn't interest him.
While you would not be wrong with going to the eye doctor, I don't think it is necessary until you give him some periodic color tasks to complete and see if can do those. There are two common types of color blindness. I know one is red/green and the other one is blue/??? I don't remember the other one. Maybe someone else does or you could find it online.
Good Luck and don't stress just yet about it. The key to your story for me was that he didn't even look to see the object. I think this means he doesn't care.

Dear TL,

It is funny that you mentioned Red and Green. Have you had him screened for color blindness? My husband is red-green deficient, and he cannot see red or green, so he avoids all color identification when ever possible, it drives him crazy to not know what color he is seeing, or to make a mistake and identify the wrong color. If you see nothing else in his development that makes you wonder, I would see who does this screen and have it checked out.

M.

Could he be color blind? I say this because my husband and his father were and are color blind. My husband's mother thought for years he was just being mean and hateful saying things like will you stop buying pink curtains. She never owned a set of pink curtains. Red green color blindness is very commom but they also have blue yellow color blindness. One way to tell is using wat the DMV does. A circle of red or green dots witrh a number made in the opposite color. Try making one with coloring pencils or crayons. Also another would be to get shapes or blocks in different colors and ask him to group them by color.

Can he match alike colors? That is a good starting point to see if he can identify the differences in colors.

It is my understanding that colorblindness usually involves an inability to see one or two colors. I had a fellow student in art school who's paintings had these acidy green streaks in them. We thought he just had an odd color sense but our teacher new better and tested him for colorblindness and he couldn't see the green. He thought it was gray.

sounds like he's just being lazy and doesn't want to answer you correctly! lol
you can get color-blindness tests with numbers or shapes for little kids who can't tell you names of colors, letters or numbers, if you're worried about that. If he knows a circle and a square, find a test with shapes instead.

If there is a history of colorblindness in your family, chances are he may have some degree of it as there are varying types. It genetically comes from the mother's side. I noticed the same problem with my son at about age four. His coloring was what tipped me off, as well as certian other things. Go to a pediatric optometrist and let them know specifically what you are noticing. Also, go to colorblind websites that describe the various types and have tests similar to what he will be given at the doctor's office. Try a couple on him at home.
Be honest with him and make sure that his teachers are aware of it once he gets into school as well as that he can openly state such if/when other kids take notice of his work at school.
Color cordinate his closet, and make sure some of the first words he learns to read are colors. I have learned to paint rooms in the house, especially his, in colors that are pleasing to his eyes so his world is not "brown." It's going to be ok, especially the more you know about it!

Don't stress!!! My son did the samething, everthing was either green or red. Sometimes he would get the color correct and I would make a big deal out of it. He is now almost 7 and reading like a champ and he also knows all of his colors!!!!

When he was going through the same phase I was very concerned because my father is color blind. My ped reassured me that most likely he was just being stubborn.

If you want to you could always talk to your ped and see what he/she suggests. Remeber he is still young and a boy, they can sometimes be difficult or more interested in playing.

Hope this helps you a little,
A.

Hi TL,
This is a link to a test for color blindness. It's the same type of test eye doctors use. The site tells you what a normal color vision person can see and what a color blind person would see. It uses shapes instead of numbers so I think it's more kid friendly. If he has trouble seeing the shapes or if you're very concerned, I would suggest taking him to an eye doctor for a proper evaluation.

http://colorvisiontesting.com/online%20test.htm

Good Luck!
A.

my grandaughter did the same thing. Just keep showing and telling him the colors. He will pick it up. Some just do it faster then others.

There are great tests online for testing the ability of a toddler to see color. They will show shapes like boats, circles etc. Here is a link to one site: http://colorvisiontesting.com/online%20test.htm

If he isn't looking at what you are pointing at he wouldn't have any idea, would he? He has found the name of two colors that he likes.
We had a game we played and it helped when they were young. Colored pictures and a box of crayons then uncolored pictures. Sun is yellow, oranges are orange, fire trucks are basically red, sunny sky is blue, etc. We played a game where you named the color, picked it up and colored the picture. Good way to judge, we carried it further into games like Candyland where the squares to move to are certain colors and you had to name the color on the card before you moved to the space. Good way to find out if he can really see the colors or not.
We found out when he was fairly young my brother can't judge reds, oranges, and browns very well. My the uncle who raised my mom had problems with greens and blues and was an artist who painted some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen, when he got into his 80's I had to mix the colors for him when he painted.
Try the games first then move on to having his eyes tested if it seems to be a real problem.

He may be color blind, which is more common in males than females. You could ask you doctor about it, there are diagnostic pictures to look at, with a shape or number embedded among colored dots. Those who are color blind won't be able to see the shape/number. BUT he may also just not be interested in naming colors - my sister had her preschool teacher convinced she was color blind until she told my mom she was just tricking her teacher. Oops!

Good luck!

Hello. It seems to me that if he isn't even looking at what you are pointing to he has no interest in playing the game of name that color. One way my girls learned their colors was by watching tv b.c they make it much more fun than I can. PBS has great shows for colors, #s, and all kinds of things. If he enters Pre-School without knowing his colors, I don't think it will be a big problem. My 5yo didn't know all her colors when she did and she still has some problems with different colors. She says she wears grey pants when they are Khaki colored. Hope that helps calm the anxiety :)

Just take him to an eye doctor they can test him and find out if he is color blind.

Don't Worry!!!! My son was the same way...knowing what color something was just didn't seem to be important to him. He probably knows more than he is letting on as was my son as his preschool teacher informed me that he was the only one in class that knew all of the colors they discussed on the first day of preschool. I just tried to reinforce colors by asking him if he wanted to drink out of the green or yellow cup or if he wanted to play with the black or red truck--I had to make knowing colors a game since he does not respond to typical learning routines.

TL,

Check him yourself for color blindness. Have him seperate colored blocks into different piles. Reds with the reds, blues with the blues, greens with the greens, etc. If he's got them all into the correct piles, he's probably not color blind and perhaps just bored with the question.

Does he color appropriate colors in a coloring book? I know my 4 year old doesn't but that's because she colors EVERYTHING pink. But go ahead and make a game of it; do one page together of green trees, blue sky, red wagon ... then do a silly page. Purple dog, orange grass, pink lake, yellow tree.

These suggestions still may not work for you and you may just need to call your pediatrician. But after you determine there's a problem, you can proceed from there.

Good luck to you,
J.

It sounds like color-blindness to me. My husband is color-blind and I know it has to do with red and green. He was diagnosed when he said the grass was red at age 5. Are there other men in your family with this issue? He might just say red or green because he has given up trying to come up with the right answer because he simply can't tell. I guess it is possible that he is just dismissing you and your color game, but that seems less likely to me. You could try a video. My daughter loves her Brainy Baby Shapes and Colors video. It is fun, with lively music and happy narration. She learned them all really fast. It might help figure out what is going on, if nothing else. I would do some research on the web and see if there are easy ways to test for color-blindness. I'll also ask my husband and write again if he has any other ideas.

How much have you worked on this? Is he in preschool? It's not uncommon for three year olds not to know all the colors yet. I work with three year olds. Make a game out of learning them......when you're driving...find something..."GREEN" or "RED". Make them OBVIOUS at this age......like a stop sign, etc. This helps them learn to focus, too.

Talk about it with laundry, lunch, at the grocery store, etc. Make a learning experience out of ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING! Do the same with math......how many stop lights until we're home? Then work on subtraction in the same way until you GET home.

You'll be amazed at how well prepared they are for school if you take EVERY experience to interact and help them learn!

I was very concerned about this issue with my daughter for quite a while. Although she at least made it obvious to me that it wasn't that she didn't KNOW the colors, it was that she didn't CARE to tell me what she knew. I would find little ways to trick her into letting on what she knew, for example I would get her older brothers involved during coloring time by whispering into one of the boys ears to ask their sister for a purple crayon, or I might say 'oooh, look at this nice blue macaroni and cheese we are having for dinner tonight...my daughter LOVES pointing out when people are wrong, so she would give herself (and her knowledge) away every time! I personally wouldn't be too worried at this stage, just give him some time.
good luck
~J.

My daughter would not admit to knowing her colors (I was pretty sure she did.) I finally got out the m&m's and the Skittles. In order to be able to eat them, she had to correctly tell me what color each one was. I would slide one across the table, she would tell me the color, when she was right, she got to eat. Maybe a fun pack a day for a while will help him be motivated to learn them.

Hi there,

It took my daughter a LONG time to learn her colors & it was very frustrating. She does have some learning delays so it was just more difficult for her. Her pre-school teachers started using sign language & bingo - she started getting it. I think seeing a visual sign for a color along with the color itself was very helpful for her & helped everything click. It might work for you if you determine that color blindness isn't the issue. I'm sure you can get a book at the library or find the "signs" on-line for the colors. It's been fun because we've all learned a little sign language. The signs for the basic colors are very simple. Just a thought! Good luck!
-L.

hello
Try asking him in a different way... lay out the basic 8 colors and ask him to hand you the red,the green, the blue and so on. if he gets some right dont work so hard on them if he dose not know any get him tested for color blindness if you think that is the problem. but some time when you ask the children what color this is they give you a answer if they know it or not so that you will stop asking. make up color games by going out side and playing i spy and let him ask the i spy as well so that he feels that he is incharge of the game to

Does color blindness run in YOUR family? It is the female who usually carries this gene. I know that my husband and I couldn't figure out why his son from a former marriage couldn't play "Book", the card game that relies on gathering cards of the same color. He seemed very intelligent except by five years old he still did not seem to know how to play the game. Several years later we all found out it was color blind! His maternal grandfather also had this condition.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.