Colour mixing is such an easy and inexpensive art activity for children of all ages and can easily be done by the youngest child.
As with all Montessori compatible activities, art should always be child led and about the process not the product especial in the years between 0-6.
For a toddler colour mixing can simply be a transferring work. Above, Quentin at 18 months carefully transferring blue food colour tinted water from one small jar to another with a long pipette. This strengthens fine motor control and concentration. He loved sucking up the water in the pipette and carefully squeezing it out into the other container. Sometimes we would adjust the amount of blue or yellow dye to affect the shade of green that would inevitably be made from his mixing but this was for the most part involuntary by him. He was simply absorbing what was happening.
For the 3-6 age group, an easy to carry tray with the primary colours and a slotted dish, a bowl to dump used water and a sponge for clean up make colour mixing exciting. Children at this age love to experiment with each of the primary colours and it’s still very much about the process here. In the classroom we talk about their favourite colour, what happens when you mix blue with red, red and yellow, yellow and blue, but for the most part they are experimenting and absorbing the experience of those experiments.
By the time the child reaches Elementary, multiple mediums such as paper to spray invite a child to continue their experiments. Small spray bottles and containers (the exact same ones from when he was 18 months), help a child keep their work contained and orderly.
A colour wheel is clearly understood by this point and the child can follow it to achieve the desired colour or make their own.
It is always fascinating to see the social and neurological development at each stage. At 7.5 years old, he commented on the imaginary tastes of his colours such as “root beer” above, and mint tea in a previous combination. It’s still amazing to see him quiet himself as he did in his toddler days and focus on the task at hand.
There are endless colour mixing ideas on Pinterest and around social media. If you haven’t tried it with your little one here’s some things to keep in mind:
- Keep it simple and age appropriate. Trying to explain the why and how of everything to a toddler won’t make it enjoyable
- Be prepared for spills. Sponges, bowls, towels and play clothes help make this successful for the youngest child
- Follow the child. Let them truly experiment with colour. If all they make is green over and over that’s ok.
With Summer right around the corner in this part of the world, we’ve been planning lots of exciting outdoor time and some fun indoor activities to help keep us off screens as much as possible.
I absolutely love subscription boxes and we have used many over the years but I have struggled to find Montessori compatible ones that were good quality, mixed age specific and above all tailored to a child’s general interests while being a “one stop shop”.
So when KiwiCo approached us to review some of their subscription box options we jumped at the chance.
KiwiCo is focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) with hands-on projects delivered each month, and there are 5 different lines for kids up to 16 years.
Although this particular box is ages 9+ Quentin can read at a 12 year old level. The words “walking robot” sucked him in right away and he immediately wanted to try this one first. I was sceptical I have to admit.
Each box comes with everything you need including all parts, instructing and an accompanying zine. As you can see the instructions are extremely clear and easy to follow. At just turned 6 years old, Quentin could easily follow along. He liked that the parts lists were clearly laid out so that he could easily see what he needed to gather before reading the instructions and making the next step. I liked that many of the parts are actually wood, not something we often see in boxes like this.
We were so thrilled with this set and we can’t wait to show you the others.
KiwiCo is offering all Our Montessori Life followers a free one month trial of any subscription box in their line up!
Follow this link to see the entire line of boxes and get your own!
This will be perfect for those long summer days when we are in need of a little downtime together inside or under the big tree in the front yard with a glass of lemonade.
Do your children play board games? They seem a bit antiquated now I suppose. We love them though and we are constantly on the look out for new ones.
Quentin enjoys Bird Bingo (seen here), and Snakes and Ladders (seen here). Today I introduced Checkers because he’s been asking how to play.
The board was made by my father for me when I was a child. Old and worn it was a perfect match to the newly oiled wooden checkers that arrived in the mail today.
There are so many valuable lessons to be learned from competitive games. Concentration, patience, critical thinking. All the things the latest childhood research is telling us we need to teach more of in school.
I think there is something much more important.
“I won Mama.” A smile beginning on his lips. Then, a hand reaches across the table.
“Good game Mama. You tried hard.” A tiny hand shakes mine before sitting back to survey his achievement.
“Wanna play again?”