Preschool 4 has been very interested in color mixing and color making these days. It all started when one child became fascinated with the color of the rinse water from his watercolor brush. In many schools, this might have been redirected back to the teacher-planned activity of watercolor painting. Here at UCDC, we believe in following the child’s interests, for this is where much real learning takes place. This child was allowed to move to the sink where he created lots of different colors by ‘rinsing’ the paints. And as so often happens in preschool, lots of other children wanted to mix and create colors too.

The next couple of weeks we prepared lots of different art experiences with color mixing and creating in mind to extend the children’s learning. We mixed colored water together using pipettes like scientists. We mixed colors on different surfaces from paper to fabric, to coffee filters and even cotton balls. We mixed finger paints with all sorts of tools to create our favorite colors. We even explored skin tone paints and encouraged the children to find their unique color by mixing the shades. In all of this hands on playful learning, not only did real knowledge about colors occur but the children also developed problem solving, curiosity, intentionality, flexibility and confidence.

When children have time to explore, investigate, and experiment like this, they figure things out for themselves and in turn, grasp a deeper understanding. They learned to take risks, make connections, daydream, look at things closely, notice details and see the big picture. These are all important life skills. When children have the freedom to follow their ideas, they become lovers of learning! No wonder these kids sleep on most school days at rest time while at UCDC!