Our “theme” this week is Rainbows. Not because I want it to be, but because, thanks to an episode of Peppa Pig, T has discovered them. He has always shown an interest in colours, and also in ordering and sorting things, so a rainbow (7 colours in a particular order) is a truly magical concept for him. He just hasn’t stopped talking about them over the last few weeks. So, of course, I have jumped at the chance to explore them with him. Here are the ways we have explored rainbows together:
1 Watercolour Painting
The first thing we did was to paint a rainbow. I drew the outline and then he used his watercolours to paint inside the lines. I love to see his free-flow drawings, but I thought it would be nice for him to get the idea of drawing an arc. We did one arc at a time. I tried to get him to tell me which colour came next in the series.
I deliberately used a paint palette which didn’t have all the colours in. Then, when we came across a colour we didn’t have in our palette, I showed him how to mix it. For T, THIS was the truly exciting part. He couldn’t believe his eyes when blue and yellow turned into green, and red and blue into purple! He started shouting out colours that he wanted to mix! We put the rainbow up on our Arty Window. That day, whenever he passed it, he kept pointing to the painting and reciting the colours in order – it was lovely to watch!
When Daddy got back home, he couldn’t wait to tell him how he mixed the colours. And whenever either of us asked him about his rainbow picture or about rainbows in general, he would get his fingers out, and say the colours in order! I wish I could show you just how inspired he is about rainbows – it really is a delight to see!
2 Colour-mixing (Finger Painting)
So, the next day, we just got some paints out and mixed them with our fingers. This is T’s favourite sort of painting – Messy Finger Painting!
3 Balloon Painting
Then, while I was searching for some super-glue in our man-drawer, I came across some balloons, so we decided to try some colour-mixing with balloons. I taped some paper to his table, and blew up a balloon a little. Then I put out a paper plate,T chose the colours of paint he wanted on it, and we dipped and splatted!
He had enormous fun splatting the balloons on the paper, and talking about the colours he could see. I have never tried this activity but I really recommend it – it’s easy to set up, so much fun, and the results look pretty cool too.
4 A Rainbow Picnic
The other day we decided to have a picnic with some friends in the park. I asked T what fruits he would like to get from the greengrocers for our picnic. He started to talk about the colours of fruits he would like. So it seemed logical to suggest we get a “rainbow of fruit”. Our friends already had tomatoes and cucumbers so we talked about how we needed orange, yellow, blue and violet/purple to make the rainbow compete. When we went in, T was so excited and ran to all the different fruits.
After we had chosen them, he told me that we still needed to get something red and green to complete the rainbow. I didn’t have the heart to stop him as he was enjoying the experience so much! So I let him choose an avocado and some strawberries. Here we are arranging our fruit rainbow on our paper plate. (Note the orange is not there as it got used as a football – silly mummy forgot to bring the real one!).
5 Rainbow I Spy
Not long after the picnic, we were walking into town, playing our favourite game: “I spy” (with colours instead of sounds). It suddenly occurred to me we could try playing with the rainbow colours in order. When I suggested this, T shouted “yes!” so loudly that he startled an old lady walking by!
So off we went, happily spotting things that were red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. You can see the items he spotted in the photos at the top of this post. What I like about this game is, not only is he reinforcing his knowledge of colours and learning the sequence of colours in the rainbow, but it is FREE and we can play it anywhere. I’m going to try and keep this one up my sleeve for when we are standing in a queue or waiting in a traffic jam or doctor’s surgery :-).
After this, I wasn’t quite sure where to take the learning. It isn’t easy to come up with loads of ideas on the spot, when you spend your days rushing around completing chores and doing all the practical things you need to do as a mum. When I was teaching, I had HOURS to spend coming up with fun ideas to use with the kids. But now, I just don’t have this amount of time. We do come up with the odd fun idea that has been inspired by T or that I recall from my teaching days. But it is hard to keep things fresh, when you are juggling chores, weaning and toddler negotiations.
This is where the Hands On As We Grow Ebook ‘Play’ I have been using has proved invaluable. It contains a bank of activities to dip into: fun ways to get two year olds moving, working on fine motor skills, doing arts and crafts projects and having fun as a family. Each weekly plan includes a handy supply list and a “bank” of activities, written out clearly and simply so they are easy to follow.
How I used the Weekly Activity Planner to Plan Around A Rainbow Theme:
After our first week of exploring rainbows, T remained very excited about them and was still talking about them. So, after dinner last Sunday, I grabbed my Go To List from the e-book and wrote up my Rainbow Plan for the week, using the simple planner template inside. After about TWELVE MINUTES of browsing (yes, I timed it!), I found five really fun ideas to use. Some I found I could just use as they were, others I decided to adapt very slightly to suit T and my Rainbow theme.
Jamie suggests using a different focus for the play on each day, for example, sensory play one day, fine motor play the next (although of course you don’t have to). I like this idea, as it helps me to narrow down the activities (which saves time) and it feels good to be providing a balanced range of activities. So I just picked one activity from each section in the bank. But you wouldn’t have to do it like me.
My T is constantly developing new interests and skills, so any planner I use *absolutely has to* allow for changes and adaptations. This is the brilliant thing about the Activity Bank and Planning Template – it is SIMPLE and FLEXIBLE.
I am looking forward to trying all of the simple, fun ideas we have planned in my Week Of Rainbows, and sharing them with you. Watch out for my posts on each activity which I will aim to post within the next two weeks.
I cannot emphasise enough how easy it was for me to write the plans up, using the Go To List. If you think you are (like me):
a – extremely busy with little ones so very short on time
b – keen to keep your bright sparks stimulated by following their interests and trying new things
c – want to make the most of the precious time you have with them
Then I heartily recommend getting your hands on one of these e-books, by clicking here. You will not regret it.
I must go now – I have some playing to do!
Until my next post, here is one more way T has chosen to explore rainbows on his own:
Children are full of surprises, aren’t they?
See you all soon,