I borrowed a number of ideas for this story time from Amy’s post on Color Science and Brooke’s baby art post. Thank you both for sharing such wonderful ideas. I kind of mashed a bunch of their ideas together and modified a bit to make an story time more suited to my adult:kid ratio. (And that I could do with the supplies I had on hand.)
I started off with my white board and asking the group to help me make a list of as many colors as we could. We had quite a list with each group. I have been trying to use the white board more to incorporate writing. “Brainstorming” about a topic is also a good way for me to gauge the group’s prior knowledge about a topic. I have also found starting with a brainstorming activity useful as it allows me to balance starting the program on time with accommodating those who might be running late. If they’re a few minutes late, they don’t really miss much, but I still start the program on time for those who are ready.
I then taught them all ASL for “color.” They particularly enjoyed practicing asking “What color?” which you do by furrowing your brow while signing “color.” Little furrowed brows are so adorable.
The story I shared was White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker. Before reading, I handed out an envelope to each child. Inside the envelope, I had included a picture of a white rabbit, as well as papers in all the colors we would encounter in the book. (I had forgotten brown when I took this picture, but never fear, it was added later.) While I was reading the story, I would ask the kids to find certain pieces. At the beginning, I had them all hold up their white rabbit. Then, when Rabbit goes to the yellow paint, I had them all find their yellows and hold them up. It was great practice for them in terms of color recognition, and made the reading of the book stretch out.
For some groups, this was the only book I read. With others, I also read/sang The Journey Home From Grandpa’s by Jemima Lumley and Sophie Fatus. It is a fun book which incorporates colors and is perfect for group participation.
For an activity, I was inspired by Brooke’s post. We reviewed what we had learned from Rabbit. Red + yellow = orange, blue + red = purple, yellow + blue = green, and mixing everything together gives you brown. I had prepared a bag for each of them which contained a piece of paper with a dollop of yellow, red, and blue paint. I sealed the paper inside a gallon-sized plastic bag, and let them push the paint around with their fingertips to mix the colors. They loved this – and it was so mess free. (A tip if you are going to do this yourself, bring permanent markers with you to story time to write the kids’ names on the bags. Regular pens are too pokey and can rip the plastic.) I haven’t received any feedback on how well the “paintings” inside dry. A few teachers said that they were going to take them out of the bags once they got back to school and let them dry, but I’m not sure how well that would turn out. I tried to take my own out but it was so wet and floppy that it was impossible to remove from the bag. Oh well, the bag is just as easy to stick on the refrigerator door.
I also let them take home their white rabbits, and I had some crayons available if they wanted to color her in their favorite color. I kept the rest of the envelopes to reuse with other groups.