Since the start of the school year our preschoolers have been exploring colors in a variety of ways. We’ve spent time mixing colors, making our own paints, categorizing based on colors, and watching the colors of nature change as the seasons progress.
This week we spent time exploring one of the children’s favorite activities, which is color mixing with a pipette and a mixing tray. After reading books like Color Dance and Mouse Paint each child used primary color watercolors to try to create secondary colors. “I made green!” said Isabella. “My green is darker than yours”, said Isla. The conversations continued from there as we explored lighter and darker, more and less and different hues. Oranges were blended as reds mixed with yellows. “Mine looks like the sun,” Griffin chimed in. “Mine looks like…an orange,” Graham said with a smile. While some children were determined to make each space a new, unique color, others were content to repeat the same color in each empty space. This activity was not only an experiment with color mixing but a great way to practice fine motor skills as each child squeezed their pipette in and out to fill it with colored water. The children also spent time observing and noticing differences and similarities in their own color trays as well as the trays of their friends.
We also continued to explore color in the natural world as we went for a walk across the street and found a variety of leaves, branches, rocks and natural materials and categorized them by color. During our walk we were able to talk about the different kinds of wild plants in our neighborhood and many of the children enjoyed sharing what kinds of plants and grasses they have at their own houses. I heard a lot of children say, “Oh, we have that in our backyard” or “My friend has that tree at her house”. I love living in such an idyllic country setting with children who are already so in tune with the natural world. Our class loves to be outside and so this is such a natural way to teach them about topics of interest.
We brought our collection back to the classroom and categorized them on our color chart. The children had to take turns figuring out where each natural item should go and communicate with each other if they had differing views. The children were polite and respectful as they negotiated the chart and the various spectrum of colors in their natural collection. Once the chart was complete the girls said, “It looks like a rainbow!” Several of the children wondered if the colors would stay the same now that the items were taped to the chart. I thought this was a wonderful question that showed deep thinking and an intrinsic interest in the topic. I have posted the color chart on the wall where all the children can see for themselves how the colors will change as time goes on.
I look forward to following this question with the children and watching what other questions they come up with about color and the ways color change.