Crazy For Color
Squirt a few dabs of various colored paints into a quart-size plastic bag, seal it, tape to table or wall, and let her squish away. It's a great activity for neatnik kids -- and easy cleanup for parents!
When children have mastered basic color concepts, they are ready to learn the subtleties of shades. A few ways to play:
- Cut up paint-sample strips and have your child line them up from darkest to lightest.
- Have your child create three different shades from the same crayon or pencil by using light, medium, and hard pressure.
- With watercolors, kids can experiment with the number of times their brush is swirled in the paint before they take it to paper: two times for lilac and 14 times for plum.
- Make lighter shades of any color paint by mixing in varying amounts of white in small cups.
Go To Pieces
Once your child fits the 96 pieces of this Siebensachen by Adam+Harborth puzzle together he'll see the full spectrum emerge. 6 years+, Colouring Colour Wheel Puzzle, $20; plasticastore.com
Play by the Book
MoMA's The Color-Play Coloring Book features open-ended, oversize pages as well as child-friendly art lessons. 4 to 8 years, $17; chroniclebooks.com
Sweet, colorful rainbow cookies make a delightful, ROY-G-BIV-approved treat!
Tint Their View
Teach children 8 and older how colors mix by holding these translucent paddles up to the light (younger kids will just have fun creating shades). Set of 18 paddles, $10; homesciencetools.com
Read in Full Color
This bundle of books provides a rainbow of vibrant words and stories.
Planting a Rainbow
"Every year Mom and I plant a rainbow..." begins this tale of a garden tended by a mother and child. 4 to 8 years, $18
This board book's unique format (scooped-out and raised cutouts) offers a touch-and-feel tome. 3 years+, $15
The Day The Crayons Quit
In this New York Times best-seller, a boy opens his crayon box and discovers the colors have resigned! Instead, he finds letters detailing their grievances, which he must address. 6 to 8 years, $18
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Learn about animals and colors in this classic singsong story by Bill Martin, Jr., with collaged illustrations by Eric Carle. 2 to 5 years, $17
In this colorful tale, the lovable mouse-child Matthew is inspired by a class trip to a museum, settles on "artist" as his vocation, and then sets about creating magnificent works to adorn his home. 3 to 7 years, $7
Little Blue and Little Yellow
Little Blue and Little Yellow are friends, and when they reunite after a separation, they hug and turn green. Drama ensues. 4 to 8 years, $7
Mix It Up!
In this new book by Hervé Tullet, author of Press Here, vibrant smears of color teach kids the basics of mixing hues. 3 to 5 years, $16
With this neat wheel kids can see how mixing two colors makes a new hue. 4 years+, Colorsaurus Color Wheel, $5; painting-crafts.com
Through the Glass
Light looks white but it's actually made up of the seven colors of the rainbow. Hold a prism up to the light and let your child watch the color "bend." Glass prism, $6; homesciencetools.com
Twist and Turn
Preschoolers can explore the color spectrum by turning brightly colored, inter-connected wooden balls into endless configurations. 3 years+, Playable Art Ball, $30; momastore.org
App To It
Learn about colors digitally with Intro to Colors by Montessorium, a terrific app inspired by the lessons of Montessori. 5 years and under, $5; itunes.com
Originally published in the January 2015 issue of Parents magazine.