Friday, 2 May 2014

Time for Color-Mixing Fun This Summer

Of all the play that we do, mixing colours is the one that never gets old.  It's fun and messy and magical.  We've been doing it since she was one!

Which means this is going to be a big round-up.


When she was younger and color-mixing was new, play always ended up in brown.

Which is fine, didn't make a difference in the exploration or lessons!

The best materials, I've found, are poster paint.  Water-colour sets are cheaper but too frustrating for toddlers to start with.  Divert the toy budget to this, and you won't be sorry!

Get a complete set, and it's enough to last a year :
Crayola washable poster paint (Gymboree, 750 pesos)
ELC poster paint (99 pesos for a huge bottle - this is the best!).

What you do with paint is pretty self-explanatory so let me move on to our other favourite material: good old food colouring.

We keep ours in both the dropper and a trigger-spray bottle diluted with water.
The spray bottles from Beabi are really easy for toddler-strength.

Nothing could be simpler.  Instead of structured lessons which she gets in her Montessori school, I like to let her play at home with a little help from suggestive materials.  

Slap some paper on a tray and get exploring.  If you have some water-colour paper use that.

This one is all over Pinterest! 
The idea is to let the primary colours travel through the kitchen tissue and see them mix together
in the empty glasses in-between.  It takes about ten minutes so leave it and check back.

I wasn't blogging back then so I only snapped pictures of the play afterwards!

Irresistible to any child : learning through touch too.
Irresistible in my house: making a mess sensorial play with water!
There's every opportunity for colour lessons while you play.

One mad heatwave in the summer last year, we dragged in the plastic pool (construction was going on outside) and pretended to be scientist chefs:

She was at this for a whole afternoon.  Yes the water will get coloured, and that's okay!

Potions for sale, lady?

We've saved up a good amount of random glass jars to make this colour-mixing potion activity a regular set-up outdoors:

This is my go-to playdate activity.  Everyone loves it and the kids get occupied for a good hour.

We've done the colour-mixing inside the pool many times since.  It sparks a lot of pretend play too.

It's easy to find simple ways to keep the play fresh:
(Note: Montessori methods teach one sense at a time, so maybe do this only when the kiddos have learned the basics well)

Bring out small toys as "ingredients"
Add another sensory element : smell.  I had used expired Listerine for the blue colour here,
but you can also add in water-based scents or artificial flavour with a nice smell.

Turn the pool into a bubble bath and mix up pretty bubble colours!
(We use Lush bubble bars, but they are pretty pricey so this is a rare event)
Magical isn't it?

No round-up post of mine would be complete without sharing how I adapt these activities into leave-behind play trays for Ladybug Girl to play with while I'm at the office.   As usual these are very busy-mom-friendly to do with very little prep work!

Here's a simple one to make the colour-wheel concept something real for a child:

The idea was to mix up the primary colours in the white sticker label to make the secondary colours.
She was too excited to do the tray when she saw it the next morning, so I didn't get a chance to take a "before" photo.  

We had this water-colour set where you could pop out the colours.  So I stuck them on an acrylic sheet (from a cheap picture frame), and then stuck white label stickers to make the rest of the wheel.

We also do a lot of colour-mixing in the bath - see our toddler round-up and preschool round-up.

And that's the round-up, folks.  I hope this post wasn't too heavy.  There's never enough time to write about all the individual activities that have worked for us, so I'm grateful to you for following this little space along even though I only post weekly (at best!).  

As we say in office jargon: go for fewer, bigger and better.  Haha.
Have a happy summer!  Our compressed summer workweek begins -- whoopeeeeeee!

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