Kids, especially preschoolers, need practice when learning about colors. You want your kids to correctly match the name of the color to the actual color. Picture books are a great way to teach kids about colors as well as help kids practice their color matching. .They’re also a great way for budding artists to explore mixing colors and shades of colors.
Developmentally, it’s best for very young children to read books with ONE ENTIRE COLOR — not many colors — on each page.
As children learn to recognize colors, you can move on to books that are more color-nuanced with many shades and/or multiple colors on the page.
Color Matching Games
And if you need easy, simple color recognition/reinforcement games, these are our favorites:
My kids loved playing I Spy focusing on colors. (I spy something red…)
Another fun game we played was just to search and find things that are of a certain color. (Can you find all the blue things in this room?)
Also, my kids spent years of playful fun with this Color Sorting Pie from Learning Resources. Anytime you can make learning playful, the learning sticks more — and it’s more fun.
Do you have any favorite color matching games?
Picture Books About Colors
Stanley’s Colors by Williambee
Stanley is the cutest hamster ever! He showcases the colors of the rainbow in different vehicles. Each page is almost entirely that one color, which is developmentally appropriate so kids don’t have to search out the correct color. Red is Stanley fixing his red car. Yellow is Stanley riding his yellow motorcycle.
My First Colors by DK
Your kids will adore the photographs of everyday objects in this book. I know mine did! Each color has a two-page spread filled with things kids will enjoy. Yellow includes a fish, bucket, truck, bananas, and flowers, for example. It’s a fantastic book to pour over with your kids, pointing to objects, having discussions, and practicing matching.
Steam Train, Dream Train COLORS by Sheri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
I like how each page features one color and one kind of train car — tanker car, reefer car, flatbed car, etc. Great for train enthusiasts!
Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Goodwin, illustrated by Blanca Gomez
Lyrical, rhythmic text just perfect for young readers focuses on the colors of a little girl’s world around her. Its simplicity makes it absolutely perfect– a must-read for ages 2 – 4. I love this book!
See the trains sparkle in the sun and in the rain.”
Bold graphic illustrations help kids follow a little brown mouse through the pages of the story.
Not Quite Black and White by Jonathan Ying, illustrated by Victoria Ying
This book makes me happy. Something about the simple text, the pop of color on the black and white animals (skunks in blue shorts, a tiger in a tall purple hat, a kitty with an aqua mohawk) and the rhyming all combine to make a great picture book for children.
Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Incredible artwork tells the loving story of a boy and his puppy who are best friends having adventures together. Meanwhile, the text narrates the varieties of blue — ocean blue, berry blue, quiet blue, and so forth — that are captured in each two-page spread. A cut-out on each page gives readers a glimpse to the next page. LOVE!! (If you like this book, also read Green.)
Pirate Nap: A Book of Colors by Danna Smith, illustrated by Valeria Petrone
I really love this book because it takes the color book a step further, into a compelling story. That rhymes. It’s a great adventure as the swashbuckling pirates play around the house, they find a pirate treasure, chase the purple monster little sister, and sail into nap time.
Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
Not only does this book have splots, scribbles, and splashes of colors, the words zig and zag, splot and sploosh over the pages, too. It’s so much fun, you’re going to love it! Silly.
Red is the color of
and More! More!
Green Is a Chile Pepper A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra
Oh, I adore this picture book so much! The illustrations, the small poems of colors, I love it all. We read about orange marigolds for Day of the Dead, yellow masa for tamales and tortillas, pink adornos, brown churros, and more special unique Mexican cultural elements.
Red is a ribbon.
Red is a bow
and skirts for
Colors versus Shapes by Mike Boldt
The colors show the shapes how talented they are by mixing yellow and blue to make green. The shapes show the colors how two triangles make a square. They argue until . . . an octagon and the color red collide. Whoa! That’s when they consider that maybe they’re better together. Silly fun about the power of cooperation! (And colors and shapes.)
A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram, illustrated by Mariona Cabassa
A little girl excitedly explores the market to find her Amma a gift. She notices the colors — orange saffron and marigolds, white jasmine and goats, pink lotus flowers and sweets…I love how many senses the author engages from sights to sounds and tastes and smells. “Tumeric yellow like sunshine dust, Plenty of powdery spice at home. A yellow rickshaw pedals by — Ding-a-ling! I scoot to the side.” Beautiful illustrations perfectly illuminate the celebration of the market’s colors and the girl’s excitement.
Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet
Remember the book, Press Here? The same author/illustrator has expanded the idea into color mixing fun. Rub a little red on the blue and you get purple. Shake, press, mix . . . It’s interactive reading times a zillion which will get your kids excited about mixing colors.
Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
It’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall
One ant is worried while the other ants burrow out a hole in their stump. He worries…what if there’s . . . an orange aardvark . . . wearing blue pajamas . . . guiding a group of green geckos . . . driving a yellow bulldozer? And wouldn’t you know, all the worries are for naught because when all is revealed, it’s not anything scary — it’s a rainbow.
Blue vs. Yellow by Tom Sullivan
Colors (Paper Peek) by Chichiro Takeuchi
A green tree, a black cat, a red apple, and more are die-cut images. Turn the pages and you’ll see more items of each color to find in colored patterns.
Pantone: Colors by Pantone, Helen Dardik
Is it just me or do you also think naming colors be the coolest job in the world? This sturdy new color book shows the variety of shades in the nine basic colors.
Colors by Jacques Duquennoy
The see-through pages of this picture book about color shows splashes of paint in different colors. Then you turn the page and the splashes become into something else like a blue seal. Zoey and Zack paint together, each doing part of the painting. Their collaboration turns into something like a red fish and a green frog. It’s developmentally appropriate because the book focuses on one color at a time, not requiring kids to differentiate too many colors. It’s adorable!
Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, illustrated by Eda Kaban
We all know that both boys and girls can like any color. This book just explicitly states it. Every color is for both girls and for boys and the author also lists something else it is that color (baseball uniforms, grass to run on, or bows on fancy clothes.)
“Pink is for boys. / And girls. // And bows on fancy clothes.”
Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos
Swatch loves color. She intends to catch them all in her jars. But yellow doesn’t want to be kept in a jar with holes in the top. And when Yellow grows and blooms and swirls, Swatch remembered that the colors were wild. Free and together, they make a masterpiece! This picture book about colors feels like happiness!