Rainbows are great for so many reasons but one is that they make a great, colorful and fun way to help toddlers learn their colors. With St. Patrick’s Day and spring coming up, I sat down and did this toddler rainbow craft that we even turned into a game. Here is the simple craft we did and how we used it in a similar way to how color tablets are used in a Montessori classroom.
This craft is a great way to reuse those cardboard egg cartons you have. All you need is a cardboard egg carton, a paint brush, and some kid-safe paint. I happened to have two of them on hand, so Mac and I each made a set of rainbow cups. We colored a set of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Here’s a dose of real life for you. Mac absolutely refused to get dressed this morning to take nice pictures. So I said “heck with it” and did the craft and took the pictures anyway.
To help her understand what exactly we were doing, I would mark the cups I wanted her to paint each time I’d open a new color. So in the picture below, you can kind of see that I had marked the next two cups with a dot of yellow in each so she would know where to paint.
Obviously hers turned out pretty messy and she didn’t paint exactly where she was “supposed” to paint. That’s alright. Part of doing this toddler rainbow craft is letting your toddler do it. That is why it is especially nice if you have two egg cartons so the adult can make a nice set to use for the game.
After we painted our cartons and let them dry, I cut apart all of the cups. This was actually a little more challenging than I thought it would be, but I tried to be really careful so that they all stayed about the same size.
One thing that made it easier (and was a total duh moment when I finally figured it out) was that after I cut each set of colors off of the whole thing, I cut the matching cups apart from the bottom. First I was trying to hack across them like I had to get the set off, but then I figured out this was much easier. If you are confused by what I mean, look at the picture below this.
You can kind of see that each of those cups is painted blue. And let me tell you, when I figured out to snip them apart from the bottom, this craft got a lot easier!
The two games we played with our toddler rainbow craft is based on a work in the Montessori primary room called color tablets. (If you’d like to learn more about Montessori education, read about what the heck Montessori is.) The first game is a simple matching game. I lined up one column of cups so you could see the colors. The other column we flipped upside down and mixed up.
One by one, my daughter would turn one over, tell me what color it was, and match it to the appropriate one.
Once she could accomplish that with ease, we tried a distance matching game. This is another “game” that children play with the color tablets in a Montessori room. We lined up one set of the cups on her table again.
I took the other set across the room to the couch. One by one, I showed one to my daughter and asked her which color it was. Then I would ask her to go find the matching one. I tried not to use the name of the color because I wanted her to remember what she saw, not what she heard. At least once, she came back to take another look before she brought one back.
As she brought them to me, we lined them up on the coffee table so she could see all of the matches. If she made the wrong match, she would be able to look at the table and correct herself. Montessori believes in self-correcting work. That means that I don’t have to tell her that something is wrong, she should be able to recognize that there is a problem and fix it herself.
Once I coached her through a round of distance matching, I showed her how she could play it by herself by bringing one set across the room and then turning over the other set one by one as she went to fetch the matching color.
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