Exploring colors the Montessori way: one week for ORANGE

 
 

A couple of weeks ago we explored the red color in a natural way, just by bringing more awareness to the red objects around us. We had a lot of fun and I wanted to continue exploring other colors with my daughter. Quite naturally, I decided to go for orange, because on an autumn day, here is how our kitchen looks like:

 
 

Plenty of orange vegetables and fruits! So it was very easy for me to set-up some Montessori activities for her.

As for red, I wanted her to explore orange through the 5 senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

First of all, I presented her a tray with different orange objects: different textures (soft little cushions, hard objects made of wood, leaves, flowers...), different fragrances (a mandarine, a leaf freshly fallen from a tree,...), some things coming from nature, others manufactured.

 
 

I didn't say anything at the beginning, I just present her the tray. She observed them a bit, played with some of the objects, ignored others. She then pointed out to some of them, I named them and added the color: "the orange flower", "the orange cushion"...

 
 

On another day, I prepared a matching activity for her. It took me something like two minutes to set it up. I put in a basket all the orange vegetables and fruits I found on our kitchen counter (two pieces of each).

I let one of each in the basket and put the other one in a row. I demonstrate the matching activity and then invited her to do the same. 

 
 

At the beginning she was more interested into putting them back into the basket and matching them inside. After a while, she put them in a row and matched them again. She did it several times and, in the end she carried them back in the basket and made the pairs again. She looked extremely focused and engaged with this activity.

 
 

Once the fruits and vegetables were back in the basket, I improvised a bit. I covered everything with a dish towel and invited her to choose a fruit or a vegetable without looking at and then guess what it was. She could't care less about my guessing activity. She was focused on hiding the basket with the dish towel and then uncovering it, which reminded me of another Montessori activity: the permanence of objects! I love how children "design" their own Montessori activities, depending on their interests of the moment.

 
 

Anyway, many of the fruits and vegetables ended up eaten, so that led us to another activity: an orange lunch. This one too was 100% improvised (again, because we have so many orange fruits and vegetable at this time of the year).  I realized that almost everything was orange on her lunch tray: a pumpkin soup, carrots curry and clementines.

 
 

Another Montessori activity from our orange week was learning how to peal a clementine. Which is a wonderful sensory experience and great for practicing fine-motor skills. I also liked it because we incorporated it in a natural way: we had plenty of mandarines, my daughter loves them, so I asked her "would you like to peal one?"

 
 

 

 

The other orange snacks of the week were: persimmons, mandarines, oranges, apples and dry papaya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And... a carrot cake that we baked together

 
 

Other sensorial and fine motor experiences from our orange week:

  •  buying orange roses and arranging them in a small vase 
  • exploring with orange painting and brushes on paper (it turned into body painting though :)
 
 

As during our "red week", we listened to an autumn song from the Music Together "Flute Collection" (you can listen to the music here).

"Leaves are falling, softly floating, tumbling to the ground.

Orange, red, brown, yellow, orange, tumbling to the ground."

And we read a book about colors "Balthazar et les Couleurs de la vie et les rêves aussi" from the amazing collection of Montessori books with Balthazar, unfortunately available only in French:

 
 

I didn't have any book about orange specifically but we read many times those two by Debi Gliori (the favorite books of the moment) and we admired the orange fur of the the little fox and his mom:

  • "No matter what" (in French: "Je t'aimerai toujours quoi qu'il arrive)
  • "Stormy weather" (in French: "Maman est là quoi qu'il arrive")  

The last activity of the week was a Montessori sorting activity. I presented her images of orange and of red objects and demonstrate how to sort them. She sorted on one side the images of red objects and on the other, the orange ones.

 
 

The whole week was refreshing, full of colors and fragrances. I saw my environment with new eyes and I felt more aware of colors around me. Maybe my daughter felt that too?

Now, two weeks after our "orange week" and one month after our "red week", she notices the colors around her. She sometimes shows me all the red objects she sees and she names the color. She doesn't name the orange ones but funny enough she names the blue ones, although we didn't focus on blue yet. Maybe this will be our next color to explore? I don't know. Which are the "winter colors"? That's more tricky in a region with (almost) no snow.

My intention with these activities is not to teach her the colors but to bring the awareness (hers and mine) to the things and colors that surround us. And see what happens next...