Friday, June 25, 2010

Homemade Montessori Color Tablet Game For Three Year Olds - Handmade Montessori Materials

The first time I saw Hannah's Color Spools at Handmade Childhood
I KNEW I needed to make a set for me... um...I mean, for my own girls.

Just look at them... they had me at hello.

Beautiful wood.
Color Spectrum. 
Paint Chips

What could be more perfect for me....
I mean, for my daughters of course!

"C" and I ventured out to our local Lowes hardware store and found these beautiful
red Oak sticks that my sweet hubby cut into 3" blocks for us with his saw.

Then the girls and I spent several afternoons sanding the ends with little sanding blocks
while playing in the sunshine on our deck.

The girls did not have much patience for extended sanding so mama (and daddy) did most of it!

Then, we cut up some paint samples and mama got down with her
mod-podgey self and here you have the results.

UPDATE: Great questions from your comments... So, What to do with your tablets?
Montessori Color Tablets are usually used with 2.5 - 3 year olds.

1. Sort them from Darkest to Lightest.... or lightest to darkest.

Here is an eHow Article on how to use Montessori Color Tablets.

Here's another article on how to present them to a Montessori Student.

2. Teach Color Recognition. 
Name your colors (great way to teach toddlers colors)

3. Teach color theory - make a color wheel.
Red, Blue, Yellow  are the primary or FIRST colors....
Then, Orange, Green, and Purple are the secondary or SECOND colors
made from the first colors. 
My oldest daughter calls it "Color Math"

4. Make a Color EYE-Spy Game or Scavenger Hunt
Take a color tablet (or two, or three) with you and go on a scavenger hunt to find 
colors that match in the yard and garden, at the store, in the fridge, in the playroom.

5. Match your colors to your toddler's favorite books, clothes, or toys.

6. Try to mix the colors. 
(finger paint, washable tempera, or play dough)

Hope this helps to get you started!

We sure do like them....am thinking we may need to make some more!

Wishing you and your family
a weekend filled with Rainbows!

pink and green mama


Susn at togethertime4families.com said...

Great post. I love the colors! I think a project like this begs to be touched and looked at over and over. It is relaxing and pleasing to our senses. Besides writing my blog I make cards and I think this gives me inspiration for a new card using the color levels of intensitiy....
Thanks again for the inspiration!

Hannah said...

They turned out beautifully! Have fun! Now I'll think of you and your girls each time we break out our set!!!

Montessori For Learning said...

This is a wonderful idea... I have tried several variations myself... but none so beautiful.

Katie Epstein said...

so, I am just curious...what do you do with these...after the process...of making them. They are cute...

Anna said...

We have a similiar activity for when we eat out that helps make the wait bearable.

I cut up the chips and had them laminated. Cut them back out and popped them in an old Altoids tin in my purse.

Works like a charm and there are just enough chips to sort in one's own area of the table. Since we only use them when out to dinner, they are exciting and fun everytime they come out!

@Katie - We sort ours from darkest color to lightest color. :)

The girls also like to make shapes with them when they finish sorting.

vanessa @ silly eagle books said...

This is awesome! I love them.

Twig and Toadstool said...

Beautiful!!! Now, off to raid the hardware store for paint chip samples!!!!
:) maureen

pink and green mama MaryLea said...


We sort the chips from Darkest to Lightest for each color, it gets tricky with the lighter colors!

We also make shapes, trains, etc. with them!

pink and green mama


Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

Love the looks of these, but I'm with Katie. What exactly do you do with them? I can definitely see sorting into colors, shades, etc. but is there something else I'm missing? Thanks so much for all of your great ideas.

pink and green mama MaryLea said...


I love the way your brain works. I'm so cutting up more of our chips for restaurant waits. We have a cross country plane ride coming up -- they could be quite handy for that as well.

May not laminate them though...might just cut them up to use since the paper is pretty sturdy and if they wear out or get gross we'll just recycle them.

Thanks again for such a great idea!


pink and green mama

Amanda said...

I love, Love, LOVE this project! Bookmarking RIGHT NOW so that I can make a set when we get to Virginia! Thank you!!

Sonia said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm a newcomer to your blog and it's fantastic. Looking forward to future posts.

Lindsay said...

I love this project! My little one, 15 months old, is not quite ready for this type of activity, but I cannot wait until he is ready.

Lindsay @ barefoot adventures

Adrienne Brown-David said...


Teacher Tom said...

Totally cool MaryLea! You don't know how timely this is for me. I already have an over abundance of rectangular plywood scraps in the storage room. I can't wait to make these.

You know, I continue to be impressed (and a little intimidated!) with how much work you put into your posts. I want you to known how grateful I am.

Wow. Fun. Pink and Green . . . and all those other shades as well!

merbobear said...

I have been reading your blog for about a week or so, and I must say I am addicted. Your "school in a box" inspired me to make a little play area for my daughter's horses...it's not elaborate, but enough to delight a 2 year old! Thanks for the inspiration. Here's a link if you want to see my finished product:

Anonymous said...

how did you stick the colors to the wood?
I made a set of color tablets with satin ribbon and wooden capital "I"s. I wanted to use paint samples, but couldn't think of how to make them last.

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Great Question!!

I used Mod Podge to stick the colored paper strips to the wood AND to seal them.

pink and green mama


Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans said...

This is such a great idea! I love it!

I am having a crafty competition with Paint samples that I would love to have you enter this project in!

Check it out here:

Deb Chitwood said...

Great post! Purchasing the highest quality Montessori Color Box 3 can cost around $150. This is a beautiful, wonderful option! Good ideas for extensions, too! I featured your post at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/03/14/montessori-inspired-st-patricks-day-activities/

The Education Of Ours said...

So lovely. I made some from wooden spools like Montessori did. Isn't it such a beautiful, simple thing?!

Deb Chitwood said...

These are just such lovely examples of homemade materials! I featured your beautiful photo and the link to your post at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/08/01/montessori-monday-diy-color-tablets/

Tiana said...

These are fabulous!!!!! I love them...and your blog :).

Deb Chitwood said...

You have SO MANY amazing rainbow activities, MaryLea! I featured your rainbow posts and featured your Montessori color tablets photo again in my Montessori-Inspired Rainbow Activities at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/04/26/montessori-inspired-rainbow-activities-and-rainbow-blog-hop/

AJ said...

Thank you for the inspiration. I made a set using 35mm slide mounts: http://pinterest.com/pin/354165958167056019/

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