Learn My Colors
One day while mulling over my final project in a software engineering class, I was sitting on the floor playing with my granddaughter. We had a toddler book on colors and to her every color in the book was blue. I would point to a color and ask what color it was and no matter what color was pointed to the answer was always “blue”. This got me wondering. At what age do children learn their colors? I remembered when my son was that age there was software that helped kids with subjects like math and spelling, but I couldn’t recall any that was specifically aimed at helping toddlers learn their colors. I decided to combine the project with my curiosity to design a simple game to help toddlers learn basic colors.
At What Age Do Children Learn Colors?
The age that children learn the basic colors varies according to the source one looks at. Most sources that I have seen say that children start learning their colors at around 18 months of age. Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician, and blogger says that children cannot correctly identify colors until the age of 3. A study done at Stanford University in 2008 found that “even at age 4, some children still struggle to discriminate color words appropriately despite hundreds of explicit training trials”. Dr. Melody Dye, in an article in Scientific American, wrote that “…psychologists have found that even after hours and hours of repeated training on color words, children’s performance typically fails to noticeably improve, and children as old as six continue to make major color naming errors.”
According to UNICEF, children learn best by experience and by doing. The software then must be interactive. It must ask the user a question, be able to receive input from the user in response to the question, and give an appropriate output to the response. Simply put, it must be a game with the goal of helping children, at that time my grandchildren aged 1 and 2, be able to correctly identify some basic colors.
How To Confuse A Kid
What if you showed a child a green ball and told them it was green. Then you showed them a different ball that was a different shade of green called that one green also. And then yet another ball that was yet another shade of green and called that one green. As adults, we know that the above are all different shades of green. But to a child, how can those three colors be called by the same name and yet be so different?
Another point of confusion according to Dr. Dye is that in the English language we use color words before an object. We say things like “the green frog” or “brown shoe”. Toddlers have just learned to say words like “frog” and “shoe” and now it seems to them that we are calling the same objects “green” and “brown”. She advises instead that we use color words after the object. Instead of asking questions like “can you find the blue boat” we should ask “can you find the boat that is blue”. By using the object first, the child’s attention is focused on the object and the color is more likely to be understood as a property of the object. To avoid this type of confusion the game does not use any recognizable objects such as balls, boats, or planes to display the colors.
There was a couple other consideration that I felt was needed. First, there could NOT be any text whatsoever on the screen. This should be somewhat obvious as children at that age can’t read. All the questions and responses had to be spoken. A BIG THANK YOU to my sister Katherine for providing the vast majority of the voices. The other consideration was that there were to be NO ADS. There should NOT be any place on the screen where a toddler could click that would take away from the game (or cost the parents money!).
“The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and Their Implications for Symbolic Learning” Michael Ramscar, Daniel Yarlett, Melody Dye, Katie Denny, and Kirsten Thorpe, Department of Psychology at Stanford University (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01092.x/abstract)