Montessori Color Tablets

Montessori sensorial activities are vital to developing and refining the senses of children. These activities are based on the Montessori principles of education and are applied using Montessori Sensorial materials.

Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori education, classified color as one of the senses in children.

What are Montessori color tablets?

The Montessori color tablets are wooden rectangular pieces of tablets widely used as Montessori sensorial materials to teach color. They are of the same shape and size and have handles on each side long enough to hold the tablets so that they do not get dirty.

These tablets isolate the concept of color. After doing activities with the color tablets, children can learn about colors. Children learn to classify colors by ordering them from darkest to lightest.

The Montessori color tablets are introduced in a sequence of three boxes.

The three-color tablets are –

  • Box 1: It contains three pairs of primary color tablets. 2 each of blue, yellow, and red.
  • Box 2: It contains 11 pairs of primary(blue, yellow, and red) and secondary colors (green, orange, purple) tablets, plus black, gray, pink, and brown
  • Box 3: It contains nine sets of 7 tablets. Primary and secondary colors, plus gray, black, pink, and brown.Seven shades of the following colors: crimson red, scarlet red (both shading to pink), blue, yellow, purple, green, orange, brown, and gray. There is a slight difference between any two shades in sequence to educate the eyes to differentiate between variations of color tones.

Benefits of Montessori color tablets

  • These tablets help to develop a sense of visual order in children.
  • The children learn to distinguish colors.
  • They help in the comparison of colors.
  • The children learn to appreciate the beauty of these colors, and their aesthetic sense gets developed.
  • Their vocabulary is enhanced as they learn about colors and describe them.
  • As the Montessori color tablet is open-ended, it can support many activities.

They learn to describe color in detail like different shades of colors – light, lighter, lightest and dark, darker, and darkest.

How to present Montessori color tablets?

The Montessori color tablets should be introduced to children in 3-period lessons. The first two boxes are pairing activities.

The children can use their imagination to create designs and do activities using the tablets.

Box 1

  • The teacher can show the child how to the tablets without touching the colored part.        
  • She can ask the children to hold the tablet similarly.
  • The teacher can guide the child to bring the correct box and place it on the table.
  • Likewise, the child can place all red, yellow, and blue tablets from the box on the table in random order.
  • The teacher says that – “we will match the colors .”
  • You can pick a red tablet and place it in front of the child.
  • She asks the child to find the match for the color without naming the color.
  • If the child selects the correct tablet, the teacher will look at the two tablets and say, “These are the same colors. We will put them together.”
  • Similarly, the child can match yellow and blue color tablets with their pairs using the same steps.
  • The teacher can show the child, one by one, and say, “This is a pair because the colors are the same.”
  • If the child selects the wrong color tablet, the teacher can show him and tell “No, these are not the same. Find one just the same as this one.” by putting the color she wants.
  • When the child completes the activity, the color tablets are assorted, and the child repeats the exercise.
  • When the child masters the color-matching activity, he can work independently.

Box 2

After completing Box 1, the teacher can introduce half of Box 2 to the child.

The teacher can move through the three-period lesson when the child masters each activity. If the child answers incorrectly, the teacher can repeat the lesson for the child.

  • The teacher asks the child to pick up Box 2 and place the tablets on the table in random order.
  • The teacher says – “we will match these colors”.
  • The teacher picks a red tablet holding the tablet from the end bars.
  • She places the tablet on the table isolated from the other tablets.
  • Then, she asks the child to choose the tablet that looks exactly like the one next to it.
  • The same steps can be followed for yellow and blue color tablets, forming a column.
  • The child chooses the remaining colors of purple, green, orange, brown, gray, pink, white, and black.
  • Once they have matched all the colors and formed the column, they can replace the tablets in the box.

Box 3

This box is for grading activities. This box can be introduced to the children once they master Box 1 and Box 2.

  • One shade of color can be picked up (seven tablets of the same color but different shades).
  • They are placed randomly on the table.
  • The teacher can tell the child that they will arrange the tablets in order.
  • The teacher can ask the child to find the darkest tablet in the set and place it on the left side of the table.
  • Then, they can find the lightest tablet from that set and put it towards the right of the table.
  • The child puts the next shade of the lightest color tablet to the right of the darkest tablet.
  • The teacher can guide the child to continue the process till he arranges the seven shades of color tablets from darkest to lightest.
  • The child can continue these steps till he arranges all the colors in their shades of decreasing order.
  • The teacher can guide the children in this exercise as it might be difficult initially.

Naming the tablets

It is another activity that aids in the development of vocabulary in children.

  • It can be done with the 3-period lesson using the three boxes of Montessori color tablets.
  • The teacher can show the red color tablet to the child and ask him to tell the color name as “red”.
  • Similarly, the child can tell the colors of the other tablets in the three boxes.
  • Then the child can replace the colored tablets in the boxes.

The teacher can guide the child in doing many other extension activities using the Montessori color tablets –

Color Hunt

  • It is a fun and interesting way to extend the study of colors.
  • Children can take the color tablets as they walk around in their surroundings.
  • They can search for objects that match the color tablets as they walk along.

Creating starburst or sunburst

  • Two mats are placed next to each other.
  • The disk is placed in the center.
  • The darkest of each color is placed horizontally around the disk.
  • Color tablets are placed in order from darkest to lightest (or lightest to darkest), starting at the center and moving outward.
  • It creates a sunburst or starburst.

Montessori color tablets are available online and can also be made at home.

These activities can be introduced in a classroom by teachers or at home. You can make it fun for the children by guiding them through the lessons.

When they go wrong in any step, the children can be encouraged to correct themselves without criticism.

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