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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kids Arts: Color Mixing



Over the last month or so, with weather getting chilly and Ana being sick on and off, we were forced to stay indoors. Which made it extra challenging for me to keep Ana engaged and happy, at the same time tend to Oggie who is teething vigorously and is in constant pain, whining on and off, interspersed with bursts of crying inconsolably...

Ana's teacher gave us a few suggestions to play at home that is both fun and educational, one of which has now become our favorite: Guess What's in my Hand - A Simple Game for Phonetic Awareness. I hold say a pencil in one hand and a ball in the other hand and ask her, "I am holding something in my hands that starts with 'puh'" - only, don't sound out the letter as "P" (pee), but just the phonetics - not even a "pa" with a vowel tacked at the end, just make the 'puh' very much like what it would be when we pronounce the work "pencil"... and she shouts out "Pencil!" gleefully. Similarly I ask, "I am holding something in my hands that starts with a 'buh'" and she says "Ball!" and so on... When folding laundry I hold panties in one hand and socks in the other and play the similar phonetic awareness game.

And, she is learning all about frogs and amphibians this month in her preschool, and comes home asking a lot of questions about tadpoles and tree frogs and such. So, I sit with her and fire up the laptop and show her images of various frogs, and frog's life-cycle from tadpole stage... she is fascinated, naturally.

The trick for me is to not overdo it in my enthusiasm to show her all the cool stuff in her world. She is only 3½ and while kids her age are human sponges soaking up information, I also want to help her discover things on her own. So, I introduce a few things and leave her with a few thoughts and have her come back to me for more. And, I space out such lessons, maybe one lesson in two weeks, and reinforce what we saw/read by asking repeated questions.

What has all that got to do with Color Mixing? Nothing, really. I digressed as usual... so, back to the track:

A while back we read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Ana showed some interest and disbelief about the fact that the mice made green paint from blue and yellow and such - she didn't believe colors can be mixed to form other colors.

Now, Ana has been finger-painting and brush-painting pretty much all her life so far, but with just primary colors.

Not wanting to let this opportunity slip by, D and I started showing her how to make fun new colors at home that she can paint with. We bought some Tempera paints in Primary Colors - just Red, Yellow and Blue, plus some White is all it takes, and some experimentation :)

Ana took to it easily. We started with Blue and Red to make Purple, her favorite color. Then, Red and Yellow to make Orange. Then, Yellow and Blue to make Green. Just secondary colors...

Then, we went on to make Pink, her next favorite color. Each time we make it, I ask her to tell me what colors we are mixing to get the resulting color. Not that she will remember it all at this age, but, she now totally believes that blue and yellow makes green.

To take it one step further, we started making cyan and majenta and such. Colors that are new to her. But, she likes to approximate them to the primary and secondary colors that she feels comfortable with - like cyan is the same as blue to her, which is true in a way. Majenta is the same as purple to her, which is fine by me.

We do only one or two colors at a time to take it slow...

So, we've been mixing paints and she has been painting away to her heart's content. She makes up a story about each of her paintings. For instance, in the pink and purple piece in the slideshow above, purple is supposed to be monsters scaring the little pink kids on the picture... go figure!

For now, it seems like I can keep her happy with colors and painting for the next few weekends which buys me time to think of other activities for the winter... and hopefully, this little introduction to color theory and color mixing will stay with her for life and she will look back fondly on learning this with her mom...

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2 Comments:

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Charu said...

Beautiful idea to introduce the world of colors to Ana. I am keeping note of all the kids craft ideas of yours.

I vividly remeber my first experience with color mixing when I got my first Camel water color set in sixth grade. I was in awe, knowing that I can create so many colors out of my basic 12 color water color set.

CS

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Dee said...

nice one Sheela. Winter time can be quite challenging. Chintu is at an age where he is so full of energy and I have no clue what we'll do having him indoors all day :) You had some pretty nice ideas here.

 

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