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Lesson Plans

Re: Painterly 4 year olds

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Becky Alexander (Bekalex)
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 20:06:23 -0800

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>I have been doing some painting projects with 4 year old students. I
>believe in letting these youngsters explore and manipulate materials, but
>have found that their kinesthetic tendencies have resulted in some
>interesting colors. They start off with some great color mixing and
>painting, but then begin to obliterate it with more colors, proceeding in
>mixing everything together. Today I gave them three colors all from the
>same color family. While limited, it seemed to work.
>How can I get the students (I have them for 50 minutes) to refrain from
>turning their painted areas to mud? Or should I keep my hands off, since
>they don't seem to mind?
>Melissa Enderle

Hi Melissa,

I have found the mud to be a problem with all primary students who have not
been taught color mixing or experienced the results several times. Allowing
experience to teach is more fun, permanent and transferable, but it takes a
long time. Guidance works better if I want them to learn within the
timeframe I have.


I have a lesson that I do with my Kindergarteners which seems to teach
something about color mixing and also give them a chance to experience
"mud" (although many of them have experienced this in their non-mixed but
multi-colored paintings.) (g)

Give each child a large sheet of finger paint paper. Squirt red and yellow
in one corner, red (magenta?) and blue in another (with a good dollop of
white) and blue and yellow in a third and all three colors plus another
dollop of white in the last corner. Each color in these puddles of paint
should be about half as much as a toothpaste squirt.

Using a single finger the kids mix each section and see what happens. They
can work toward the center but try to leave it blank. (I've thought of
putting white in the center and having them work it in but I'm afraid that
that might be extending the lesson too far and be rather difficult for the
young ones to keep clean enough to succeed.)

Finally, in the empty center using small paintbrushes they paint a small
flower or ball using their favorite self-mixed colors.

The kids really seem to enjoy as well as learn from this lesson. I use it
after they have experienced other finger painting, some same family color
mixing and painting with a brush. (It's usually toward the end of the year
when they can name the colors they've used and created.)

Also cute to do as an intro: Read "Mouse Paint" and demonstrate as you read
with paint and "mouse fingers" on white paper.


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