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How Colors Affect the Brain and Learning

At our facilities at Smart Kids Development center, we emphasize space and bright colors. Kids in our preschool, daycare and other child care programs regularly are exposed to spacious, colorful areas that help create the ideal learning environment.

Not only do colors create an aesthetic comfort, they can have a real subconscious effect on the learning process. Here are some of the basics of how colors impact learning, plus how a few specific colors might affect children.

Color Learning Basics

Color is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in its very purest form, it actually represents energy – a wavelength that has its own magnetic frequency. As such, colors can affect neurological pathways in the brain and create a biochemical response. Every color has a wavelength, and each of these affect both the body and the brain in different ways.

Using the proper colors and placement can affect feelings, attention and behavior during learning processes. Even adults with Alzheimer’s disease have shown improved memory after color cues, and all learners recall images more easily in color than in black and white. Now let’s look at how three different major colors might impact our brains.


Green is considered “concentration country,” and it’s perfect for promoting calm and improving focus. TV stars stay in a “green room” before performing because of how soothing the color can be. Studies have shown that people who work in green offices have higher rates of job satisfaction, and another study showed that students made fewer errors on a given test when they were under a green roof compared to a bare concrete roof.


Orange lifts the mood, acting as a welcoming color for learners that helps improve neural function. Some theorists have argued that an environment rich in orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity. This is good if children need to be energized, but care is needed if kids are energetic already. But orange has also proven to sharpen focus on objects or screens, another advantage for learning children.


Research suggests that people with work that requires a high cognitive load are most productive in a blue environment, and blue is best for learning situations that are challenging. Blue paper, ink or highlighting can improve reading comprehension – many experts suggest adding a bit of orange spiking to blue highlighted information.

Want to learn more about how colors affect your child’s learning, or interested in any of our child care programs? The educators at Smart Kids Development Center are standing by to help.