The Importance of Shape and Colour

Have you ever wondered why there is such a focus on lMelissa&Doug_Shape Sorting Cubeearning colours and shapes in the early years? It’s because these are two very noticeable attributes of the world around us. Look outside:  green trees, brown rectangle buildings, square windows, and blue sky. Colours and shapes are ways children observe and categorise what they see, define and organise their world.

Understanding colour and shapes helps a child to learn many important school-based skills, from mathematics and science to language and reading.

When young children are asked to sort objects (such as leaves, rocks, shells, or keys) they would use colour, shape, and size, to categorise the items. When your child plays, he uses sorting and classifying skills as he observes similarities and differences, makes comparisons, and organises information.

Here are some milestones to guide you:

0-1 years

At about 9 months your baby is starting to store the shape concept apart from the colour concept in his memory. Introduce obvious shapes such as hearts and stars, seen in pictures. You can also introduce shape sorters early, so that your baby is able to touch and feel different shapes, and look at different colours.

1-2 years

Your baby may start to place a circle and a star in the correct place in a puzzle or shape-sorter. You can still expect a fair amount of trial and error, but eventually they get the hang of it. They also start to understand how shapes can be grouped. For example, they will see that an orange and a ball are both round and can roll. You can help them with this concept by showing them similarities between objects.

2-3 years

Your child can now match the four basic shapes – a circle, square, rectangle and triangle, and probably many more! They can also identify and name a circle and square, as well as basic colours. Shape sorters, nesting and stacking blocks, as well as shaped blocks are great at this stage for enhancing these concepts.

3-4 years

Your little one can name a circle, square and triangle and is eager to tell you the shapes of objects. It is now much easier for your child to complete a shape puzzle or form board and they will also start to imitate simple shapes while watching you draw. You can introduce more complex building activities to help them develop their concept of shape and size.

4-5 years

It’s time to get sorting; your child can now group more or less six shapes together (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval and star).

5-6 years

Your little artist can draw basic shapes and copy a diamond. They can also name and group nine shapes – a  circle, square, triangle, oval, half circle, diamond, rectangle, cross and star.

6 years+

Your child is able to use his previous knowledge to start reading, writing and mathematical concepts

Have a look on for some wonderful toys to help develop these important skills in your little one