Q&A-Children

The Effects of Color on Children and Babies


What are the effects of color on grade school children?


What are the best colors for a baby's room?


The effects of color on grade school children

 Question:
I'm looking for a short summary of the effects of color on grade school children, for instance, likes, dislikes, a bit about why these trends happen, what children enjoy seeing. This is for a creative writing class on writing children's stories.

Ro Logrippo
HI JODY . . . The part of your question about grade school children and color that deals with "what children enjoy seeing" is something I've discussed with several educators over the years since I write exclusively about children's environments . . . You might be particularly interested in the thoughts of former longtime San Francisco Unified School District child development program director Madelon Halpern . . . In establishing color schemes of children's settings, Halpern says, vast differences between adult and child color perceptions cannot be overloooked. . . . She points out that adults are the audience of advertisers and have learned "a syllabus of valuation based on color" which is unknown to children who are "innocent of these expectations and respond to color in their own growing ways. . . If a child loves a teddy bear," she explains, "he may grow up feeling brown is a warm, comforting color." . . . With so many children's materials fabricated in the brightest primary colors, Halpern worries that "a child's toys, his working tools, can teach one monotonous lesson: Everything is red, yellow and blue. . . Good teaching," she says, "brings the multicoloredness of life into the classroom. . . Young children, if allowed to, will play happily with sand, mud, water and items that adults would consider too worn or faded to be of any interest. . . This behavior leads many adults to believe children do not actually perceive color, that true color perception arises at a later age. . . In truth," Halpern emphasizes, "the mind of a very young child is not that easy to fathom. . . Much of the failure to respond to color as adults expect, is sheer inexperience with the social significance -- the code as it were, of color." . . . At the risk of running too lengthy a post, I'll stop now . . . . But if you are interested in reading more about what Halpern and other children's authorities say about color, you might want to read the chapter "Strike Up the Bands of Color" in the following book -- "In My World: Designing Living & Learning Environments for the Young" published by John Wiley & Sons in '95 . . Your local library should have a copy or be able to order one through its inter-library system . . . -- RO LOGRIPPO, author, "In My World" (http://www.msro.com/ro)


What are the best colors for a baby's room?

If you can afford the time and the dollars....skip the paint if you can. Try some wallpaper, ok? Look for a nice design, not overly complex....something with a variety of nice shapes and things...something that is colorful as well, with a mix of primaries and secondary colors in it. Don't select something that is wildly bright or overwhelming. Don't select something too dark and/or bland.The wallpaper industry has tons of things to choose from...so a good store should carry something that catches your eye and will make your child smile - hopefully. And... if you want, buy some of those little luminescent stickers (stars and moons and things). Get a ladder and put them on the ceiling. :) Then baby will have as much fun when the lights go out, as when they are on. :)

Dani:
the first color that the human eye is capable of seeing is red,which though not in our traditional palette for babies rooms is stimulating. Babies do indeed cry more in yellow environments. it has been found that yellow is the last color that babies can see. Also, babies do not have thefully devoloped perceptive responses to color adults do. they are not yet able to distinguish the subtle differences between many pastels. a good choice is a pale base with colorful accents that offer lots of contrast.

Ro Logrippo:
You make some good points about distinguishing between pastels, but I disagree with your statement about red. I also think we're subject to thinking that primary colors are best for baby only because so many toys are designed in these colors.

To discover more about a child's colorful world through their young eyes, visit Creating Rooms for and with Children - http://www.msro.com/ro - the website of children's design author Ro Logrippo."


 

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