Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekly Learning Theme: Colors

Since Elise loves colors and calls all colors yellow except for blue which she calls blue, I thought a learning theme on colors would be a lot of fun. For Elise my focus was on the primary colors. We talked mostly about yellow, red, and blue. My hope was by the end of the learning theme should would also be saying red, she still refuses to even attempt saying the word red. With Carter I wanted to review mixing colors. He has secondary colors down pretty well and knows that blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, and blue and red make purple, even though he often times says he doesn't because he doesn't feel like answering. With him I wanted to review mixing colors and begin to experiment with tertiary colors, introducing the wording as well as beginning to experiment with mixing some secondary colors with a primary color. I did a learning theme with Carter on colors in 2014 here and one last year more geared toward mixing colors here

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have revised our objectives to really hone in and focus on specific skills Carter will need to master before kindergarten and are appropriate to his age and development right now. I plan to continue to implement activities to practice and reinforce our previous objectives while putting more emphasis on our new objectives.  Some of them won't necessarily be targeted with specific activities during our weeks, but I wanted to list them to help me remember to practice them continually. I have added working on his name as his teachers at school have asked us to work on it at home and I want to remember to include working on it in some form during each of our learning themes. I'm also adding in a section for Elise now that she is a year old. I don't considers her bullet points objectives, they are experiences I want to make sure to expose her to frequently. Her experiences are listed below Carter as bullet points rather than numbers.

The highlighted objectives below are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Begin to organize and focus on writing. (Dictate stories, plan out a story, draw pictures and scribbles to create a book).
  2. Understand same and different.
  3. Accurately tell stories as well as retell the story from a book. 
  4. Use age appropriate scissors.  (I'm moving on to looking for a thumb and forefinger grasp with writing tools and holding scissors appropriately)
  5. Develop a better understanding of time (for example, be able to describe when things happen using morning, afternoon, night)
  6. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).
  7. Count with one-to-one correspondence, begin to identify numerals, being to use ordinal numbers (first, second, last). 
  8. Recognize the letters in name, arrange them to spell name, begin to write name.
Experiences Elise was exposed to during our theme this week are highlighted below:
  • Play make believe/Imitate the behaviors of others (adults and children).
  • Know the names of and be able to point out body parts.
  • Groups things together by size or color/matches like objects, understands hard and soft.
  • Names common objects and is able to point them out.
  • Begin to hold writing tools and scribble spontaneously. Can draw a line. Differentiates between a circle and square.
  • Follows simple instructions (focusing on words such as in, on, beside, under).
  • Others: counts to two, refers to self by name. These I want to start to expose her to, but she isn't quite ready to master then yet.
  • I wrote the word colors on a sentence strip. I had Carter name all the letters in the word and then I asked him which letter there were the most of in the word. After that we practiced their letter sounds. Then I segmented and blended the sounds in the word. When I read the word colors I told him we were going to be learning about colors.
  • I pulled 2 of each primary color ball out of our ball pit. I put them in a basket and intended to play a game with the kids, having them race to the basket and pull out the color ball I yelled for, then run the ball back to me. Carter had a blast playing the game but Elise was only interested in being held because there were a bunch of birds in our neighbors' backyard being really loud and it scared her. So I really talked up what color ball Carter was bringing to us and then showed her the ball and told her it's color when he arrived with the ball.
    Elise holding the basket but looking toward the birds.
    Carter running back with the yellow ball and no pants because YOLO, lol!
  • We did different color baths each night thanks to the awesome color tablets the kids got from their uncies and Gma and Gpa for Christmas! We started with the primary colors. I'd have the kids pick a color and then we'd go through the bath toys and only pull out toys that were the same color as the water. That was a bit tricky with red because the water turned more pink, but we went with it. Once we'd done each primary color I started having Carter choose which secondary color he wanted to make and had him pull the colors out of the container that would mix to make that color. Each time we'd pull out all of our bath toys that were the same color as the water and only play with those toys. Carter loved finding toys that were mostly a different color but just had a little bit of the color we were looking for on them. I was really hoping to stick with toys that were mostly that color so we wouldn't confuse Elise, but I can't stifle his spirit so it was a wide variety of toys most nights!
  • My mom found us some paint dabbers and we just had to use them right away so I came up with some activities to incorporate them. For Elise I drew a circle and labeled it blue circle. Then I gave her the blue dabber to outline the circle. Next I drew a square and labeled it yellow square. I gave her the yellow dabber to outline the square. I put my finger on each shape when I gave her the paper and traced the outline as I told her the name of the shape. I asked her to outline the shapes and showed her how, but she pretty much just did her own thing as expected. For Carter I wrote the name of a secondary color on a piece of paper using a primary color marker that would make the secondary color when mixed with another color. I showed Carter the sheet and told him what word was written on it, then I asked him what color dabber he needed to mix with the color on the paper to make the color word on the page. That sounds more confusing when I write it out, he totally understood in person. He'd tell me what color and I'd get it for him. Then he traced the letters with the dabber. He loved seeing the secondary color appear as he dabbed over the letters. It was pretty cool!
  • Throughout our entire learning theme I made sure to point out colors to Elise. I'd point at things and tell her what color they were. I also pointed at things and asked her what they were. Then I'd ask her what color it was and if she didn't answer, I'd tell her.
  • I made color sensory bins by using beans as the base. Then I just added all toys of one color. We did a sensory bin for each primary color. I'd tell Carter what color sensory bin we were going to do and he'd help me find color toys to go in it. We tried to find toys that would be fun to play in the beans with. Duplo blocks were a huge hit and worked great because we had them in each primary color!
    Carter insisted we add the Cheerios book to the yellow sensory bin, he cracks me up!
    Playing with the blue sensory bin.
  • I pulled out the color wheel Carter made during our last colors learning theme. We looked at the color wheel and discussed the colors on it. I had him point out the primary colors. Then I told him the other colors on it are called secondary colors. Then he pointed out which primary colors mix to make the secondary color and noted that the primary colors that make the secondary color are on either side of it on the color wheel. We used the color wheel to help him mix colors as we painted. 
  • We played Play Doh and talked about colors as we played. Elise picked yellow Play Doh to play with, of course. I tried to get her to repeat the other colors after I showed her and told her their color name but she just yelled, "NO, LELLOW!" at me for every color except blue. Carter liked picking two colors of Play Doh and telling me what color they would make if we mixed them.
  • We have two different color puzzles. One is a caterpillar whose sections are all different colors. The other is a shape puzzle where each shape is a different color. Carter really liked playing with the caterpillar puzzle and I used it as an opportunity to talk about tertiary colors. We also talked about how the colors were arranged by colors that we mix together. Elise preferred the shape puzzle. I'd help her put the puzzle together by pointing at the piece she had and telling her what color it was. Then I'd point out the space on the puzzle board that had that color around the outside of it while repeating the name of the color. We also used it as an opportunity to discuss circle and square and I reviewed rectangle and octagon with Carter because they were the only shapes not circled on his assessment page from school.
  • We did the color cloud experiment again because I remembered how much Carter had enjoyed it before. He loved watching it rain colors through the cloud. I had him pick primary colors to mix and then had him tell me what secondary color they would make. As we added the colors to the cloud I repeated the color we were adding over and over for Elise and tried to get her to repeat the names after me, to no avail.
  • We had so much fun playing with shaving foam. I let each kid pick which food coloring to add to their shaving foam. Then I had Carter tell me what color we would make if we mixed them together. We took a little foam from each of their play areas and mixed them to see what color they made when mixed. Elise picked yellow every time, no surprises there. While we played I had Carter practice writing his name. I drew a square and a circle for Elise, describing them as I drew and then naming them for her. I also wrote her name and said each letter as I wrote.
  • The Children's Museum has a toddler area and in it there are different colored tubes. I had Elise practice colors with me while we played with it. I'd tell her I was putting a ball in a certain color tube and then have her watch me. Then I asked her to put a ball in a certain color. She followed directions for a little bit and then ran away.
    I didn't get a picture while we were playing so I took a picture of the tubes after Elise ran off.
  • I have a couple different flash card sets from Target Dollar Spot about color. We pulled them out and played with them. Carter liked sorting the colors and telling me the color names. I showed Elise red, yellow, and blue cards telling her the color names. Then I had her help me sort the cards into color piles. 
  • One of our favorite books is Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton. Every time we read it, Carter just cracks up! To practice with colors we read the book and then we acted it out. I was surprised that Elise was more interested in playing the role of the animals wearing the clothing appropriately. I thought she'd want to be the turkey. I assumed both she and Carter would want to be the turkey and we'd take turns, but she was happy playing one of the other roles and letting him be the turkey the whole time. He loved putting the clothes on wrong and yelling out "Oops!" While we played we talked about what color the article of clothing was and Elise and Carter would grab the color they needed. Then we talked about where on our bodies we wear that clothing and we'd discuss why Carter's character was an oops. It was a lot of fun and Elise enjoyed playing with the clothes by putting them on and taking them off long after we were done with our activity.
    Green hat.
    Red socks. Oops!
  • As another way to practice mixing colors we acted out White Rabbit's Color Book. I planned on using Carter's arctic hare figurine but we couldn't find it so we used a beluga whale instead. Carter loved telling me what color it was going to make before turning the page and seeing. I'd say his favorite part of the activity was getting to give his whale a bath in a bowl of water in between each color.
  • We have some fun color toys that I pulled out during the week. Carter has some cupcakes that pull apart with different shapes. Each cupcake has a different color frosting on the top. We played with them, discussing the color of the frosting. We also played with our egg toys. When you open the egg there is a colorful chick inside. The chick matches the color face on the top of the egg that lifts off. We practiced matching the shell to the chick while discussing colors. I love toys that cover multiple different skills. We used both the cupcakes and the eggs to discuss color and shape as well as getting some great fine motor practice in as well! 
    The kids playing with our toy eggs.
    Carter playing with our colorful cupcakes.
  • Finger paint is always a great way to practice colors. Carter worked on mixing colors. I started by putting the primary colors in his paint tray so he could mix them. Then I added the secondary colors so he could experiment with those. He reviewed mixing primary colors and then I had him mix a secondary color and a primary color to make each of the tertiary colors. We used his colors to make a book showing tertiary colors. Then I let him mix the colors however he wanted. I just gave Elise one primary color at a time. I told her what color it was and she painted just with that color. I wrote the name of each primary color on a piece of paper and she painted on that paper to create a book about primary colors.
Special Snack:
  • I pointed out the colors of different foods as we ate. We had our color wheel hanging by the kitchen table and we'd refer to it and discuss what color the food we were eating was.
Make Believe:
  • I'd say Carter's favorite activity during this learning theme was an Inside Out inspired game that we played. We read a book about colorful emotions and discussed which colors we use to show certain emotions in artwork. Then we compared them to the colors of the characters in Inside Out. I pulled out shirts for each color and laid them out on the ground. We pointed to each shirt and said the color. Then Carter told us what emotion each color represented. He'd pick a color shirt and put it on and then he'd pretend to be that character from the movie. I thought he'd want to play one round but this game went on for so long I started to regret coming up with the idea. Initially Carter thought anger would be the most fun because I pulled out tissue paper for him to rip up but once he had ripped up all the paper he lost interest in that character. He mostly enjoyed being either Fear or Sadness. He liked being Sadness while I was Joy so I had to try to make him feel better. He also loved me being Fear because I would run and hide which the thought was hilarious.
    Elise ready to be Joy.
    Carter loved being Sadness.
    Carter as Anger, tearing up tissue paper.
  • We sang a Gummy Bear Song I found here with a free printable of cute little bears to go with the song. The printable had yellow, red, green, purple, and orange bears so I traced and colored a blue bear. I first sang the song with Elise and just used the primary colors. Then I added in the rest of the bears to play with Carter. Each time the bear was a secondary color, I had Carter tell me which colors mixed together to make that color. The song goes like this:
Down at the candy store, what did I see?
Five little gummy bears smiling at me.
Along came Carter with money one day.
He bought a (insert color) one and took it away.
Elise ready for the Gummy Bear song.
  • Carter loved the Curious George Mix and Paint Game on PBS Kids here. They had red, yellow, blue, and white. You could mix the colors and then paint a picture. I liked that you could add more of one color than another. You could click red once and blue twice and see the difference in the shade of the color as you added more of one color than another.
  • Carter also played this color mixing game which was a lot of fun. It would show you a color to make and you clicked on the colors on the paint tubes to spray the paint out and make the correct color mixture. It was a little tricky sometimes because you'd have to add more of one color than another, for example you'd add more yellow to make the orange a yellowish-orange.
  • This interactive color wheel game was awesome. I loved how it described the colors as Carter clicked on them on the color wheel. It was also neat how it showed the colors mix when you chose a color on the color wheel.
 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • During our first color learning theme when Carter was little we went on a color walk for each of the primary colors as well as green. We'd walk and search for items of the color we were looking for. Each time we went on a walk I gave Carter a piece of construction paper to help him know which color we were looking for. We went on another color walk during this learning theme. This time we read our books before we went and then took them with us as a help. We went out searching for the items in our books. Carter got so excited each time he found something that was in our book. We made sure to tell Elise what color our items were and show her them in the book.
  • I took Elise to Museum Babies at one of our art museums while Carter was at school. As we walked through the exhibit we talked about colors. Then in the back room with toys where the kids got to play there were all kinds of toys with the primary colors so I talked with Elise more about color names while we played.
    Elise playing with toys at Museum Babies.
  • Free family day at the other art museum was on Saturday so we took the kids. As we walked through the exhibits we talked about color and I pointed out a couple pictures to Carter, talking about how the colors in the painting made us feel. Before we went we reviewed the colors on the color wheel, discussing which colors are cool colors and which ones are warm colors. We discussed how warm colors are the same and how they are different. We did the same with cool colors.
    Carter painting in the gardens of the art museum.
  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • White is for Blueberry by George Shannon
  • Red Apple Green Pear by Rookie Toddler
  • Lunch by Denise Fleming
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
  • Hello Animals! by Smirti Prasadam
  • Colors/Colores by Eric Carle
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Color Surprises by Chuck Murphy
  • Spookley the Square Pumpkin Colors by Joe Troiano
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  • Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier
  • Oh, Were They Ever Happy! by Peter Spier
  • City Colors by Zoran Milich
  • Strawberries are Red by Petr Horacek
  • A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
  • Lemons are not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert
  • Color Farm by Lois Ehlert
  • Mister Doodle: A Color for Sketch by Orli Zuravicky
  • Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
  • Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
  • Color Dance by Ann Jonas
  • Andy Warhol's Colors by Susan Goldman Rubin 
  • Red Is a Dragon by Roseanne Thong
  • Colors by Orla Kiely 
  • Little Critter Colors by Mercer Mayer
  • Colors Everywhere by Sam McBratney
  • Blue by J. Jean Robertson
  • Kitten Red Yellow Blue by Peter Catalanotto
  • Critter Colors by Ashley G.
  • Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker
  • Magic Colors by Patrick George 
  • Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
  • A Book About Color by Mark Gonyea
  • Ruby, Violet, Lime: Looking for Color by Jane Brocket
  • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola
  • The Mixed Up Chameleon by Leo Lionni
  • The Game of Red, Yellow, and Blue by Herve Tullet
  • Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle
  • Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? by Tana Hoban
  • Cars In Color by Bendon Inc.
  • Colors Everywhere in Nature by Dalmatian Press
  • Press Here by Herve Tullet    
  • A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
  • Colors by Bendon Inc
  • Pocket Piggies: Colors! by Richard Austin   


  1. Carter looks like he's having a ball running to get the ball the color you call. And I love how his green turned out with the stamper. I'll try to find some other colors. They both look fascinated with the rain cloud, and looked like they were having fun with the Sandra Boynton book, but Elise looked a little upset with the egg game. :) It all looks fun.

    1. Yeah, Elise was upset bc she couldn't open her egg the way she wanted to. Haha!