When Can Babies See Colour?

When Can Babies See Colour?


Our world is a kaleidoscope of colours, and naturally parents are excited to know when their babies will be able to enjoy and perceive this vibrant spectrum.

Babies' journey of colour perception is a unique and fascinating one. Actually, colours can significantly influence the development of their cognitive and language abilities as well as their emotional intelligence.


The Early Weeks

In the first weeks of life, newborns have poor eyesight because their eyes and brain are still developing.  Their vision is actually muted. Research suggests that during this time, babies see the world in shades of gray, akin to an old black-and-white movie. This monochrome view is due to their immature cells known as cones which are responsible for colour vision and are are still in the early stages of development.


Emergence of Colours

As infants grow and their visual faculties mature, they gradually develop the ability to perceive colours with increasing clarity. Around the age of two to three months, most babies begin to discern between different hues, but in a limited capacity. During this phase, they may display a preference for high-contrast colours such as black, white, and primary colours like red and blue. These vivid hues stand out prominently for them because they captivate their attention and stimulate their increasing curiosity. However, babies at this time find it challenging to differentiate between yellows and purples, most especially the pastel colours because of their subtlety. 


Development of Colour Discrimination

Between four to six months of age, infants' colour vision undergoes further refinement, enabling them to discriminate between various shades with greater precision. They start to distinguish subtle differences in colours and broaden their recognition of the spectrum.  By the age of 5 months, babies generally possess the complete spectrum of colour vision, although the colours they perceive may still appear less vivid compared to adults. They also find it easier to distinguish brighter shades, often gravitating towards toys and objects with more vibrant colours.  This period marks a crucial milestone in their visual development, as they become increasingly attuned to the colourful world around them.


What Parents Can Do

Understanding the timeline of infants' colour vision development helps how to support babies in their early learning and cognitive growth. Providing babies with visually stimulating environments rich in colour can enhance their sensory experiences and foster cognitive development. Colourful toys, books, and visual stimuli can engage their senses and promote exploration and curiosity. Moreover, research suggests that exposure to a diverse range of colours from an early age may have long-term benefits for cognitive development, including improved visual processing skills and enhanced creativity.

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