Skip to main content

Thoughts on Color Learning and Easy DIY Color Mixing for Toddlers

Toddlers are busy developing their whole selves by being in the world around them. Everywhere they are, they are scientists discovering (and unconsciously absorbing) even the smallest details about their worlds. That piece of lint on the couch - yep, they touched it. That dog barking across the street, yep, they noticed it. You added something new (or took something away) from your home, they feel it! Toddlers don't need a lot in this world, every detail is absorbed by them and retained. 

Here are some thoughts on why we don't teach or drill colors as a Montessori parent, but instead let a toddler drive the discovery. Plus an easy DIY to make that happen!

It's the same with things that we traditionally feel like we need to "teach" toddlers about. Colors, for example. Toddlers are constantly absorbing the properties of the things they have around them. They will naturally feel called to learn about these properties when they are ready! It isn't our job to force that readiness, but to prepare our space for interesting exploration of color. Then, when the child is ready, provide the language our children need for their discoveries! 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 


Gus is at an age where I could start to drill him about colors. "What color is this!?!" "What color is that!?" But, it's so unnecessary. He notices the difference! By directing his learning, I'm robbing him of the opportunity to make those discoveries for himself. To find the properties of things that call most to him! Maybe, it's not something's color, but something's weight or its feel. I let him notice what he needs to notice and the rest will come! 


But, that doesn't mean I don't provide opportunities for him. These opportunities mostly come from experiences within the environment. Planting a rainbow of colored flowers, for example. Or selecting beautiful and colorful materials for Gus to explore should he feel called. 

One material has been this easy DIY color mixing work. I got the idea from my dear friend Amy, at Midwest Montessori, back when Nora was a toddler. I brought it out recently for Gus. And, he really likes it. It's simply some light filters that I cut into circles. I simply place on a tray and let him free! Gus gets to choose what to do with them. I showed him how they can be put together to change but his exploration drives how he uses this work. I provide simple language "the circle is blue" when necessary. But, I don't ask him to make certain colors or use the work in a certain way. Instead, this work is about giving him the time and space to explore this concept safely with his own hands. 


But, that's it!  Simple, toddler led. No drilling, no questions, no pressure. Just amazing discovery, passion, and interest! 

Here are some thoughts on why we don't teach or drill colors as a Montessori parent, but instead let a toddler drive the discovery. Plus an easy DIY to make that happen!

Does your child notice or play with color? 
---

Comments

Lovely! I also love the book Planting a rainbow.
Hi Nicole, may I ask how did you cut the light filters? Thanks!!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.


One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…