Skip to main content

Color Exploration in the Preschool Years

Toddlers and preschoolers approach the world differently. Even though we tend to think of them as similar, they aren’t the same. Toddlers have an unconscious absorbent mind and walk through the world soaking up everything around them. Preschoolers have a conscious absorbent mind and are driven to manipulate and refine their understanding of their environment.

Gus is squarely in the preschool years now. He’s constantly challenging himself to refine, learn, and grow. When it comes to learning about colors, he no longer needs to know basics like “yellow” and “red” but has moved on to refining colors to things like “buttercup” and “rust.” He’s moving into a new relationship with colors seeing them as a spectrum with many shades.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

In order to support this exploration, I've made sure to have some opportunities in our environment for deeper exploration with colors. Since Gus does go to Montessori school, I want to be careful not to just duplicate traditional Montessori work (like the color tablets) at home. But, I look for opportunities to use these and similar materials for this type of exploration. Here are a few types of activities he has really enjoyed lately: 

Rainbow Order

Instead of simply sorting colors to similar colors, we've started to notice and sort things into rainbow order - that is in relation to other colors. I don't have any work out specifically working on this skill, but it's something we do naturally as he works and plays. So we put away our play silks in rainbow order, build rainbow cities with blocks or magnatiles. 

Playing Games 

Gus is also super into games that have a color sorting component. Matching colors in different shades seems to be really interesting for him. One of his favorites is this version of Go Fish. I love it because it has such rich language. It's not "purple" but "eggplant" and "lavender." Other color matching games he loves: 
These games will all be used for years to come. While right now he is focusing on the colors eventually the other components (logic, math, number sense) will all become more important. 

Hunting for Shades

Another fun work that has been on our shelves has been a color hunt matching work. Here I used (an old used) set of color tablets that we have. I matched them to pictures of flowers, but you could use pictures of anything. You could also match to a box of crayons, or paint samples, if you didn't have access to color tablets.

In this work, Gus looks at the picture and finds all the shades of the colors present. This work really helps him to discriminate between slight color differences even within color families. It's a fun challenge and easy to switch up by just changing the pictures.  

Mixing colors

Finally, we've been doing a lot of color mixing work! Play dough, paint, color mixing paddles, and light table play have all been popular here for seeing how colors are made. How do we get to all these wonderful shades we have been noticing around the world? 

And, that's it! It's been a fun shift in the preschool years to a new type of deeper learning about colors. It's always so fun to watch our kids go deeper with things we think they have mastered a long time ago. Yay for sensorial work! 

Has your preschooler been interested in colors? 

Montessori home. Here's a look at activity ideas for 4-year-olds that explore colors more deeply.



Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

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! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. 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 toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique