Sometimes the smallest actions make the biggest difference in a child’s life. It might sound insignificant but the way their coloured pencils are displayed can have a big impact on their desire to draw and their motivation to put their materials on their right place.
This is what happened in our home. When my daughter started using coloured pencils, around 1 year old, we kept them all together in a beautiful jar (made of a tin can wrapped into paper and washi tape). As she grew older, I made an art space for her (you can see it here when she was 2 y.o. and here when she was 3 y.o.) where we kept all her art supplies. When she turned 3, she started using her art and craft supplies intensively to create things that she used for her imaginative play, so we made space in her playroom for an art and crafts shelf. And she stored her coloured pencils in the same old jar on her little table.
But her pencils were often scattered on her table as she was looking for the right colour or shade. That’s when I realised that the Montessori way of organising coloured pencils would work much better for her.
Montessori holders for coloured pencils are easy to make and you can recycle things you already have at home: glass jars!
To make them you will need:
10 or 11 glass jars
glue or double-face adhesive tape
You can recycle the glass jars from jam jars or other canned food. We used mustard jars to make ours, that you can see in the pictures.
I highly recommend you to do this craft activity with your toddler or child. I definitely think that children can and should be involved into the making of their “prepared environment” (the way Maria Montessori called it). Children take much pride into making their own materials and since they are the final users of these Montessori pencil holders you might want them to organise the different shades the way they find it meaningful.
So, for your Montessori pencil holders you will need to :
draw 10 or 11 circles, one for each colour: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, violet, grey, brown, pink, and one for black/white, if you want to store black and white in the same jar (or two jars, one for black and one for white if you want to store them separately). 10 or 11 circles in total, one for each jar. The diameter of our circles was 2,5 cm, a bit less than the half of our jars’ high.
depending on your toddler/child’s age: invite her cut the circles and/or colour them
stick the coloured circles on the glass. You can glue them with ecological glue. For little children double face adhesive tape is an easier option (but not ecological)
invite your child to organise her coloured pencils into the jars.
And that’s it!
I loved doing the last step (n°4) with my daughter and I’m glad I let her organise the shades into the jars instead of me doing it for her because for shades like turquoise it was interesting to see if she puts it in the blue or in the green jar. There is no right and wrong and at the end of the day your child knows best where she naturally feels like storing the shade of a colour.
These Montessori holders do take more space on her table but pencils are now beautifully stored and they are in their right place instead of being scattered on the table and on the floor. They still sometimes travel around the house but we now know where they belong ;)
I would love to hear if small changes in your child’s prepared environment have made a big difference. You can leave a comment her bellow or on Instagram