Teach your child all the colors of the rainbow (and more!) with these fabulous picture books about colors.
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Exploring colors with kids is such fun! Color identification is a core kindergarten-readiness skill, and the possibilities for playing and learning with the colors in the world around you are endless!
Now, there are a LOT of color-themed books out there, but I’m really choosy about what I include in my book lists. I cleaned out my library’s collection of color books (really burdensome research going on over here…wink), and I put most of them right back on the shelf. Today, I’m sharing with you only the best of the best. Many of them are books our family has loved for years, but some are recent finds that I am thrilled to have discovered.
Here are some of our favorite books about colors that your kids are sure to love, too!
Picture books about colors
Bear Sees Colors: Karma Wilson is one of my all-time favorite children’s book authors. Everything she creates is charming, and this book is no exception. The playful, rhyming text invites readers on an adventure with Bear as he discovers a rainbow of colors in nature.
Monsters Love Colors: Monsters… scribbly art… lots of bright colors… this book has it all. It’s a perfect introduction to color mixing as a few silly monsters get a little crazy and create all the colors of the rainbow! But what happens when all the colors are taken and there’s still one monster left? Kids will LOVE the last page of this book!
Wow! Said the Owl: A curious little owl who is used to the dark colors of night is amazed at what she discovers when she decides to stay awake all day. Morning brings a whole new world of bright colors to enjoy!
The Days the Crayons Quit: When poor Duncan opens his box of crayons, all he finds is letters from all the colors describing all their woes, and asking for his help! Maybe it’s just that I have a tendency to speak to inanimate objects as if they are alive, but I adore this clever, quirky book.
Green: Sometimes when we talk about colors, we stick to the basics. But this book opens kids’ eyes to the variety of shades that exist within a single color. After all, how many different kinds of green are there? I love the minimalist text, as well as the fun peek-a-boo cut-outs that connect the colors of pages together. If you like Green, also check out Red and Blue.
The Crayon Man: This is the true story of Edward Binney, the inventor of Crayola Crayons. It’s a fascinating story that made everyone in my house start inventing their own color names for things, inspired by the wacky Crayola crayon names. It especially grabbed the attention of my aspiring inventor child. It’s narrative non-fiction at its best!
Mix it Up: I hope you’re already familiar with this fun, interactive book. If not, you need to go request it at the library now! As you turn each page, follow the narrator’s instructions, and participate in the creative (and colorful) adventure mixed up by Herve Tullet right before your eyes!
Blue Hat Green Hat: This is my absolute favorite of all of Sandra Boynton’s many hilarious board books for toddlers. I just love the silly turkey who can’t quite manage to get his clothes on the right way. Guaranteed giggles from the toddlers in your life! (Want more fabulous board books? Check out these.)
Rainbow Stew: It’s a rainy day, but that doesn’t stop Grandpa from going outside! His grandchildren join him to pick veggies from the garden, and this sweet story unfolds. A great book for getting kids excited about trying new foods! It would be so fun to read this book and then have a “rainbow tasting party” of some of the fruits and veggies in the story.
Planting a Rainbow: The simple text of this book tells the story of planting a flower garden. It’s educational (kids will learn the process of growing bulbs as well as the names of a variety of flowers), and so magical to watch the garden grow over the course of the book. Read it together, and then take a trip to a garden center to hunt for the flowers in the book!
My Blue is Happy: When we’re sad, we say we’re feeling blue. But does blue always have to be glum? No! It can be happy! Or calm. Pink can be pretty…or annoying. This thoughtful book suggests that colors can evoke many different emotions, and that variety is part of the beauty around us!
Freight Train: This Caldecott Honor book brings to life the simple experience of watching a freight train roll by your window. Toddlers will love identifying the color and type of each car as you flip through the pages, and the simple, calming text makes it a perfect bedtime read.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: In nine years of motherhood, I have read this book more times than I could possibly count. I basically have it memorized. But who am I to argue with a classic that my kids absolutely love? Simple text, bright colors, and repetition make it a perfect first board book for babies and toddlers. It’s the kind of book that’s worth buying…and while you’re at it, pick up an extra for your next baby shower gift.
Dog’s Colorful Day: This cute story about a dog’s messy adventures throughout the day ticks all the boxes for a perfect preschool read-aloud. It helps kids practice colors and counting, it’s bright and cheery, and it involves a funny little dog. Plus, it’s just begging to lead to an art project where kids can paint their own dog with splotches of color. I love using books to inspire art!
More playful ways to teach kids about colors
Now that you’ve got enough book ideas to fill your library bag, try one or more of these ideas for extending your play and learning beyond the page!
- Go on a color scavenger hunt. Get kids outside and explore the world around you for all the colors nature has to offer!
- Paint. I know it’s messy, but there’s something magical about the experience of smearing color across a page. If you want to contain the mess, try painting in the bathtub, outside, or mess-free finger painting.
- Invent new colors with playdough. Kids will learn all about color mixing in this creative hands-on color activity that uses a playtime classic: playdough!
- Taste the rainbow. No, not the candy kind. I’m talking about grabbing a cornucopia of color from the produce section of the grocery store and inviting your kids to create and taste an edible rainbow. Trying new foods as a game makes it low-pressure. You might just be surprised at what your kids like!
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Want more great picture books for kids? Try these: