Sensorial: Visual (Color)
The child is a sensorial learner and his mind absorbs and develops through the impressions his senses received from the environment. The sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom engage and refine the child’s five senses in various ways, including: the tactile sense through the exploration of weight, texture, temperature and plasticity; the visual sense through the exploration of color, form, and size; the auditory sense through the exploration of sounds; the olfactory sense through the exploration of smells; and the gustatory sense through the exploration of tastes. These sensorial explorations help the child discover universal concepts like color, size, sound, textures, temperatures etc. that become keys for understanding and classifying the world around him.
Color boxes are a popular sensorial material in the Montessori classroom. Color Box 2 contains 11 pairs of color tablets: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, gray, brown, pink, white, and black. At home, colored pencils (or spools of thread, or paint samples, etc) can be used like the color tablets. If you do not have any of these materials, you can also use the provided worksheet (see link below).
Exercise 1: Matching color tablets (ideal for Sunflower children); you will need two of each color for this exercise (e.g. two of each colored pencil or spools of thread---see picture below). If you do not have sets of colors, you can use the worksheet provided in the link below.
Place one of each color in a vertical column. It is best to start with the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) followed by the secondary colors (green, orange, purple) followed by brown, gray, pink, black, and white. While placing the colors, review their names to verify that the child knows each of them.
At random choose one of the other set of colors and try to find the match. We usually encourage placing the color you are matching next to each color in the column, starting at the top, so that the child can really see the differences. So you would always start by comparing the color you are trying to match to red, then to blue, then to yellow, and so on until you find the right color match.
Once the correct match has been found, place the color next to its match.
Choose another color and continue in the same manner.
Once the child has successfully matched the colors, you can challenge them by mixing up all of the colors and asking them to create the vertical columns themselves (so without you first placing one of each pair). For this exercise the child doesn’t need to stick to the order of primary colors, followed by secondary, etc.; the point is for the child to show that he is able to match.
If you do not have colored pencils or something else to use, try using this worksheet: https://drive.google.com/open?id=180BtrdgpTa1usV6U43jy1Zw3WiQdRpmB. Ask the child to color each pair of color tablets (again the order is: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, brown, gray, pink, black, white). You can then cut out each pair and use the cutouts for the exercise.
Exercise 2: Matching the colors to the environment (ideal for Sunflower and Monarch children, with an extension for writers and readers)
Place an example of each color vertically on a table or mat (again, it is best to keep the order: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, brown, gray, pink, black, white)
Ask the child to choose one color (maybe his favorite?) and to find something in the house that matches this color.
Place the object next to the color and choose another color.
Extension for readers/ writers:
Writers: If your child is practicing writing, help him write/ label the colors and objects (e.g. the blue cup). This will be easier for the child if the chosen objects are phonetic words. Also, colors are often puzzle words, so they can be difficult to write---so it might be a good opportunity to learn how to write these words.
Readers: If your child is practicing reading, write a label for each color and objects and ask the child to read the labels (e.g. the red pen) and place them next to the appropriate objects. This will be easier for the child if the chosen objects are phonetic words. Remember that colors are often puzzle words, which makes them challenging to read---so it might be a good opportunity to learn these puzzle words.