I started teaching JA, my 2.5 year old, his colors about 6 months ago. He can now identify all of his colors by name and will often identify an item by its color without any prompting at all. For example, JA will say “look at the pink pig” or “my shirt is purple.” I’m always amazed at how quickly and effortlessly little kids learn new things and love sharing their newfound knowledge with anyone willing to listen to them.
When JA was really little I would just point out different colors in books and all around us. But about six months ago I decided to start using the Montessori color tablet to teach him his colors.
I purchased some homemade tablets from Livable Learning on Etsy and I couldn’t have been happier with the product. These matching tablets are sometimes called the Hue Matching Box in the Montessori world.
We started with learning the primary color tablets (sometimes called Montessori color box #1) – a red pair, a blue pair, and a yellow pair. For the first presentation I introduced JA to the tablets by showing him one blue tablet, stating its color and then matching it with the second blue tablet. It didn’t take him long to start matching the primary color tablets on his own.
In a typical Montessori presentation, you would first introduce the tables without the name but I’ve always included the name of the item when doing a first presentation of colors. Then you move onto naming the colors using a 3-period lesson. Here’s how to do the 3-period lesson.
Montessori 3-Period Lesson for Color
Step One: Naming – you state the name of the color while holding up the tablet, “this is blue” and continue with the other two colors.
Step Two: Recognition and Association – you ask the child to identify the color, “please hand me the blue tablet,” to aid in long-term memory recognition.
Step Three: Recall – you ask the child to recall the color by holding up a tablet and asking, “what color is this tablet?”
There was a period of about a month where JA could identify only one color by name. He would say “that’s lu” (blue). And there was also a period where I was concerned that he might be color blind because he kept getting red and green mixed up. But he eventually figured it out.
We moved on to adding in the other colors one at a time. The other colors are part of the Montessori color box #2.
I purchased some color flashcards from Amazon (below is an affiliate links) to help with the matching game. I really like these cards since they include cards with just the color and the name of the color. I placed color tablets in a basket and the cards on a rug and asked JA to place the cards on the appropriate card. He had a lot of fun with the matching.
So much fun in fact that he brought out his guitar and started playing a song about colors. JA loves music and the guitar is his instrument of choice by far. The color song he plays isn’t very complicated but it sure is very cute!
Here are a a couple of other color learning games you can try with the tablets:
- placing 3-4 different tablets on the rug and ask the child to bring you one color or to point to a specific color
- handing the child one color tablet and asking the child to match it with an item of the same color in the room
Hope you have fun learning colors with your child!