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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! 

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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? 


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

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