Monday, July 11, 2011

Exploring Color in the Outdoors – Activities with Children

Color activities aren’t limited to preschoolers who are learning their colors. Color hunts and matching games can help young artists notice how the variety of hues around them goes beyond what a box of crayons or paint palette offers. Color activities work on observation skills and help children and adults become more aware of their surroundings. For more art-oriented activities, see my book, Art in Nature, Nature in Art.

Color Hunt
Go to the paint department of your local hardware store and gather an assortment of paint chip samples. Cut the paint strips into individual colors. For younger children who may be overwhelmed by the subtle variations of color offered by paint manufacturer’s, use a box of crayons so the children can stick with general colors.

On a walk, give each child one-to-three of the color chips. While walking, they should watch for items that are a close match to the examples. When they find a match, they can trade that color sample for another. You can also stop along the way and hand out color chips for the children to match while at that particular location.

Quick Colors
While walking, the adult stops and calls out “quick colors.” Everyone freezes for a count of ten and then starts calling out the different colors they see. Although younger children can be satisfied calling out colors like “green” or “blue,” older children can try to be more specific and imaginative and name colors as “blue-gray,” “cheddar cheese,” or “grape jelly.”

Just One Color
At any point during the walk, ask the children to look for items that share one particular color. Make the walk a challenge and select a color that doesn’t seem to be predominant in the area. Objects can be natural or manmade and can be any size. Depending on where you are walking, look for yellow in a swirl of a ball, the frame of a trampoline, a flower. If you are taking this walk with young children who are still learning their colors, bring along a crayon or piece of construction paper to show the color.

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