Rainbow Connection

There is something truly special about seeing a rainbow-either in nature, or recreated in some other setting. The visual aesthetic of a spectrum of colors is undeniable. Maria Montessori recognized this natural curiosity about color in the children she observed, which led her to design a series of materials called the color tablets. 

This material, called the color tablets, is typically manufactured from wood or plastic, but this teacher made her own set using embroidery thread (which is closer to the tablets Maria Montessori originally designed). I'm impressed! 

This material, called the color tablets, is typically manufactured from wood or plastic, but this teacher made her own set using embroidery thread (which is closer to the tablets Maria Montessori originally designed). I'm impressed! 

The color tablets are quite a different way to teach colors to children. In many early childhood settings, we see flashcards on the wall that picture blobs of color paired with their corresponding names. Or there is a very specific lesson on color mixing where the children copy exactly what the teacher has shown. The color tablets encourage exploration and practice with matching, sorting, and grading various hues (sound familiar?) before any naming or mixing. It taps into the child's natural preference for aesthetic order, allowing him or her to learn colors visually. Just for fun, I here are some other beautiful ways to reinforce color for your young child:

1. This one's simple-just gather a variety of small objects into a basket and pair them with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple blobs of playdough. Your child will do the rest! 2. I know I said that the color tablets teach color visually, without naming... but when a child is ready and interested in learning color names, these books are wonderful. Bonus: they're small and sturdy and will withstand a lot of love. 3. Instead of tossing your child's art supplies into boxes all mixed up, consider offering them sorted by color. It looks absolutely stunning, makes it easier to find the desired color, and will allow your child to practice sorting during cleanup times. 4. Playsilks are more of a Waldorf thing, but they are a beautiful and tactile way to reinforce colors. I have watched children use these in so many different ways in their play. 

1. This one's simple-just gather a variety of small objects into a basket and pair them with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple blobs of playdough. Your child will do the rest!

2. I know I said that the color tablets teach color visually, without naming... but when a child is ready and interested in learning color names, these books are wonderful. Bonus: they're small and sturdy and will withstand a lot of love.

3. Instead of tossing your child's art supplies into boxes all mixed up, consider offering them sorted by color. It looks absolutely stunning, makes it easier to find the desired color, and will allow your child to practice sorting during cleanup times.

4. Playsilks are more of a Waldorf thing, but they are a beautiful and tactile way to reinforce colors. I have watched children use these in so many different ways in their play. 

Feeling extra motivated? Here is more information about the color tablets, including a tutorial for making your own set!