I love St. Patrick’s Day – it makes me think of rainbows, which are always beautiful, even if there isn’t a pot of gold at the end (not that I’d mind that). It is the perfect opportunity to explore colors with your toddler or preschooler.
We’ve been doing a variety of things to learn about rainbows and colors; I’m going to share three of them with you here. Each of these is super simple and a lot of fun!
First, we made some play dough. You can certainly skip the step of making your own, and just buy some from the store, but there is nothing like homemade play dough! It’s softer, more pliable, prettier, and you can add scent and make it smell nice too!
We made some in blue, red, and yellow, and talked about the fact that these are called the “primary colors”. We divided each of our primary colors into one large ball and two small balls:
Let your child mix the small balls together, two at a time.
Mixing red and blue:
Blue and yellow:
After mixing, you have your 3 primary colors, and 3 new, “secondary colors” – so pretty:
Work on those fine motor skills by showing your child how to roll a bit of play dough into a “snake”, then make a rainbow and talk about the order of the colors:
Next is play time. Matthew made a bunch of rainbow “hair” 😉 :
And then, of course, this happened:You knew it would, right? That’s a rainbow turtle, by the way. 🙂
Our second activity, was a simple, no-mess, tie-dye art project.
We used washable markers (if you want to do this on fabric that you intend to wash, use permanent markers and rubbing alcohol), some embroidery hoops, cotton fabric (white worked best), a small amount of water, and a pipette or medicine dropper.
First, we mixed our primary colors on a small piece of fabric.
Yellow and red:
Add a drop or two of water to the center, and watch it spread out, forming orange:
Yellow and blue:
Blue and red:
After the color spreads and dries, it looks like this:
Then let your child set to work with a larger piece of fabric, and make his or her own beautiful rainbow art:
Matthew’s finished rainbow, with flowers, a tree, and a sun (I trimmed the fabric later):
Our third activity was learning about shades of one color. We chose green, but you could do this with any color. A purple shamrock would be just as nice!
Cut a shamrock shape from a piece of green cardstock. You could find a variety of green shades in catalogs (clothing catalogs, or gardening magazines would work great). I had some handmade paper in shades of green that I thought would work well. Cut your green papers into strips, then let your preschooler (or toddler, if they are ready) cut the strips into squares, while you talk about what a “mosaic” is.
This is the perfect time to work on using a dot of glue, as opposed to a puddle of glue. 😉
This was really simple, and I love how the finished piece looks! If you want, make a rainbow of these, and string them into a St. Patrick’s day garland!
Rainbow activities also work well with a Noah’s ark theme. And if you observe Lent, now is the perfect time to talk about Noah, his family, and their 40 days in the ark!
Find more preschool learning activities and art projects at Nicole’s blog, Tired, Need Sleep.
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Those ideas are fantastic! I am definitely going to do the homemade playdoh color mixing and rainbow making and the shamrock mosaic. Thank you so much for sharing!! My younger (and older children too) will be so happy. They are really enjoying all of the ideas that I am getting for fun art activities on this blog.
Have a wonderful day!
B Fryman says
My art table is the same way!
So funny that you posted this tie-dye method…I just saw it somewhere else a couple of days ago and wanted to try it. They used rubber bands and alcohol, though.
I LOVE the rainbow playdough idea. I will definitely be doing that one. And, I love your blog name. Can I borrow it???
Awesome ideas! Yikes! I need to think about St Pat’s Day, huh?? LOL
I’m with Nikki – I am totally digging the playdough! We (read: I) much prefer the homemade playdough, and I have been using with great sucess the recipe from The Magic Onions blog. These colors here are so vibrant, and using playdough to introduce/reinforce the color wheel and secondary colors is great! Thank you so much!
Hi Nicole, I found you through Red Ted Art. We just made a big batch of rainbow play dough, and we’ll give the color mixing a go. How fun! And I’m really excited about the tie-dye activity. You may see that on my blog one day soon 🙂
Janet from Creative Writing says
These are lovely ideas for working with a unit on colors and color mixing! Wonderful art and science lessons! I have to plan my volunteer lessons for three first grade classes next week, so I may have a go with these ideas! Thanks!
I am so excited you shared this on my rainbow linky today! The colors are wonderful – I love the rainbow playdough and LOVE the rainbow fingerpaint. I so have to make some of both!