Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Color Containers

Again, I'm a teacher at heart, which means....I'm cheap :)

I'm forever going to Lakeshore Learning (a teacher-ish store) and getting ideas just to come home and do it my own way.  Adelyn just turned 2 which means she's into the world of colors.  Here's an idea I got at Lakeshore and perfected at home when Charlotte was 2.  I'm doing it again right now with Adelyn.

First - spend a week or two keeping and washing out old plastic containers (sour cream, cottage cheese, hummus, etc).  If you don't have any paint on hand, buy some easy acrylic paint from Walmart or Michaels (99 cents at most)
Re-purpose old plastic containers with acrylic paint 
Start with one color or two colors that are VERY different.  I chose purple and yellow because Adelyn loves yellow and purple looks quite different.  Paint the containers, let them dry & write the color on the top with Sharpie.

Next is the fun part :)  SCAVENGER HUNT!  Kids of all ages love scavenger hunts.  It's how I've taught Charlotte letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.  Take your two (or you could start with just 1) container and search your house for things that are that color.  You want to stick to things that are mostly or completely that color.  

Our finds: Mr. Potato-head pieces, kitchen pieces, hair bows, bracelets, beads, etc.
Two colored containers filled
Put the lids on and you're done for now!  Leave them out in the open so that they play with the containers and the contents regularly.  Be sure to say those two colors over and over again as you see them over the next few days.  I like to remind the girls to "show Daddy" anything new at night so that they review and Daddy knows what we're doing during the day (win-win).

Here's the hard part - wait....

We tend to get excited and overdo it sometimes, trying to teach our kids 100 things at a time. 

Resist the temptation.  

Give it a week or so to marinate in their brains and refer to and play with the containers and colors regularly.

Adelyn finding red beads

Then, pick a completely different color and scavenger hunt again!

People think that colors are really concrete, but truly they are a really abstract idea.  There are tons of shades of red, shades of pink, etc that we don't think about.  Scavenger hunting allows our kids to find examples and non-examples of each color.  Beware of doing close-colors together.

The girls finding red hair bows

Notice in this video that Adelyn struggles with differentiating between orange and red.  This is perfectly common and expected.  These are really close colors and depending on the shade can look really similar.  She is also finding "nonexamples" of red and putting them to the side.

The sorting activities I'll share below really help kids learn to differentiate between these.  I'll probably do green next to separate orange from red.

Lastly, after doing a few containers, you can dump them all into a big pile and "sort" them into containers.  The girls really like this, but it's also fun for me to sort and make pretend-mistakes. This is a really common strategy that I used in the classroom and kids find it particularly funny :) and therefore really engaging.  Notice how engaged both girls are in this simply because I'm making mistakes.

Every time you add a new color, you repeat any/all of these activities.  Again - you'll want to wait.  Resist the temptation to move too quickly.  It will probably takes months for us to "finish" our color containers.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Shannon, great job is being really explicit with this idea. It's fun to see how much you can do with it! I remember you doing the containers with Charlotte, and I'm sure Lily would have a lot of fun with it now.