It was bound to happen sometime. I started in public school, moved to private, wandered through Waldorf, and now I have started training for Montessori ages 3-6. One of the many things I have learned so far is that the Montessori curriculum is heavily dependent on materials and those materials are very expensive to buy. This is somewhat ironic to me as the first Montessori schools were with kids in housing projects and Maria Montessori and her untrained assistants made most of their own materials and used things that were easily accessible, like empty wooden spools. Fortunately, there are lots of online resources for making your own, and much of that information is free. In the spirit of that, I will try to add anything that I do to help others. This post is named as a nod to one blog I have already received lots of help from; Making Montessori Ours, and I’ll take the opportunity to add a shout out to another I’ve been gleaning lots of great ideas from: A Handmade Childhood.
I started with the Color Boxes. After surveying the many creative options out there, I decided to make mine out of wood (fir) and then paint them with leftover house paint. I chose house paint because it is safe for little people and basically free in the amounts required for a project like this. I have been collecting almost empty cans from other people’s painting projects. Color Box 3 involves 9 colours; 7 shades of each of the colours, so I have painted the first one of each colour undiluted and then added small amounts of white paint and mixed right in the can until the very palest shade is achieved.
We used scraps of wood and taped the ends off after sanding them smooth and then painted one coat of paint on the tops and sides.
While I was painting, I was concerned that the shades were too similar, but when they were dry, I found that it was pretty obvious when they were out of order and when they were correct.
I only did one coat because I like the wood grain showing through. My four and six year old testers approve. Passing adults arrange them too; they are kind of like visual candy.
Next up, pink tower and brown stair!