Last week, we shared one of our favorite activities from a Montessori Play Group we attended when Big M was 18 months old… Montessori Animal Match. This week we are sharing Big M’s other favorite activity from the play group… Montessori Color Match.
Playing Montessori Color Match
Order and ‘exactness,’ or matching, are two of the natural human tendencies as defined by Maria Montessori. Children have a natural tendency to discern exactness, and create order in their little worlds. At the Montessori playgroup we attended, Big M (then 18 months) participated in a series of activities based on these tendencies. One that I found to be super simple, while engaging her the most was based on color matching. Primary colored place mats were laid out on the floor to collect objects of matching color.
The best thing about this activity is it requires little to no preparation. For our at home version, the only supplies you need are colored construction paper, tape and whatever multi-colored toys you already have at home!
Colored construction paper
Multi-colored toys to match paper
Cost: Less than $5
Preparation Time: Less than 5 minutes
Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes
The first time we played, I laid out the sheets of paper on the floor, and grabbed one large pom pom to match each of the pieces of colored construction paper. We named the colors together, and I showed her how to put the blue pom pom on the blue sheet, and the green pom pom on the green sheet. After that, she took over! When she finished with the pom poms, she pulled out her ice cream cones that came in all different colors – she only paused for a second when she got to the chocolate one, since we didn’t have any brown construction paper!
After the first time, we stored the colored construction paper and pom poms in the lower drawer of our entertainment center (pictured below), where Big M could easily access them any time she wanted to play. She would take out the paper, lay it out on the floor, and begin collecting colored toys to sort. Whenever she runs out of toys, she loves to run around the house finding things to match her colored papers. It is so much fun to watch her at work!
Lil’ M’s Turn to Play
My husband has recently been concerned that Lil’ M (age 2) is color blind because she says EVERY THING is red. So I decided to play this game again with her… good news is – she is most definitely not color blind, she just doesn’t always name the right color for everything yet!
With her, since she has a more limited attention span than her older sister, I started with just one color first, and let her find objects around the room that matched.
She caught on VERY quickly, and immediately wanted more colored paper to match all her toys.
This can be played with a a few sets of multi-colored toys, or for more active toddlers, like Lil’ M, it was great to just let her run around the room and find colored toys that matched herself.
For those not already familiar, Montessori is an educational approach created by an Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori, at the turn of the 20th century. She emphasized independence, freedom within limits and respect for a child’s natural development, psychologically, physically and socially. The Montessori model has two primary principles: first, children will naturally engage in self-constructive ways with their environments; and second, young children have an instinctual path of psychological development. She believed that children, left to freely choose and interact in a constructively prepared environment, would naturally and spontaneously interact for optimal development.
What I take this to mean is I should strive to create a play space that provides toys that inspire imagination and creativity, where play objects are easily accessible by children and used with limited intervention by me, the parent or facilitator. Typically, when I introduce a new activity in their room, I do a little demonstration, then leave them to their own devices. Our Montessori Color Match is just such an activity.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out some of our other favorite toddler activities: Splat! Pollock-Inspired Art for Toddlers and Montessori Animal Match. You can find all of these, as well as our favorites from around the web, on our Toddlers and Montessori Inspired Fun boards on Pinterest.