One of my favourite things to teach in Kindergarten is colour! It is a part of our science curriculum and there are so many fun, hands on things to do when learning about colour. This post is about an activity I’ve done a few times, and I always love how it turns out!There are also a TON of great books about colour to read with your class. I’m a bit of a bookaholic, I have a huge book collection, to the point a former administrator used to refer to me as the Book Lady.
As you can see from the picture, I have a ton of books about colour that I’ve collected over the years! Everything from the classic Red is Best to my new favourites Press Here and Mix it Up by Herve Tullet (if you haven’t read his books yet – do it! They are great interactive read aloud books). Needless to say these are a great way to integrate literacy into your science learning, but there is so much more that can happen when you use picture books to enhance your teaching. And that is what this post is about – literature, science, and art all in one! You can see on my stuffed bookcase, right in the middle is the book A Colour of his Own by Leo Lionni. It’s a very simple story about wanting to belong and it translates into a great art project. I’ve done this activity a few times, and each year I do it a little differently. This year was the simplest iteration, and I think it may be my favourite! In spite of my love of big bold projects, sometimes the “keep it simple” method wins out!
How to make Colour Chameleons:
I need to warn you – this takes some major prep ahead of time – you can’t decide to do this at the last minute! But it’s a good prep job to do while watching TV!
- Mr. Sketch markers (I tried my regular Crayola markers, but they weren’t “juicy” enough and eye droppers with food colouring weren’t making much of an impact either, so we broke out the Mr. Sketch…scented of course!)
- Coffee filters or colour diffusing paper (I scored some at Artsjunktion a while back and it’s awesome)
- LeoLionniAColorofHisOwn chameleon outlines – I printed mine on white card stock to make them a little sturdier (also – for some reason the document is 2 pages…so just print the first one!)
- Black finepoint marker
- Paper towel
- Spray bottle with water
- Black card stock
So, in my head there were little to no materials needed to do this…but after I make that list I realized I was wrong 🤣
- Print and cut out chameleon template.
- Outline chameleon onto one filter (I was able to fit 2 chameleons onto one filter
- Layer 2-3 blank coffee filters under the outlined filter and staple around the edge (I ended up stapling in the middle too) Stapling them together makes cutting them out way easier! Hello #teacherhack! The shapes are way more consistent and the scraps are easier to clean up! Bonus!
That’s pretty much it for the prep. I did most of the cutting while drinking wine and visiting with a friend.
The day of, it’s a good plan to have some paper towel ready ahead of time. For each student, I wrote their name in the top corner of a folded piece of paper towel with a sharpie marker (as not to mix up our creations…that’s a different book about Chameleons). During playtime I called the kids up a few at a time and had them colour their chameleons on top of the paper towel. As they were colouring I had to remind a few to add more colour, in my test runs I found the more colours the better! I was tempted to just give the kids the primary colours, as we’ve been talking about making secondary colours, but decided that the focus of this activity was more art than science (that being said, the kids noticed right away how the colours mixed when we sprayed their creations).
Next up we gave our chameleons a little shower. I just used an old spray bottle with water in it, making sure it was on the mist setting (I may or may not have spritzed a few kids too…don’t worry I asked them if I could and once I sprayed one, they alllllllll wanted to be sprayed). I put an old cookie tray under the paper towels with I sprayed them to make it less messy. I had some spare paper towel on hand and just did a quick wipe between each chameleon shower. Then we put them on the drying rack and left them to dry. They were actually pretty dry by the end of the school day, but the colour diffusing paper dries a little faster than standard coffee filters, so I’d suggest leaving them over night.
The next day, when all our little chameleons were dry, I glued them onto black card stock. My original plan had been to have the kids draw a background for our chameleons on the black paper with oil pastels, but they were so beautiful on their own, I decided to leave them as they were (keep it simple!). Had I done this activity with an older group of kids, I would have had them glue their own chameleons. With Kinders, unfortunately these little lizards would likely get completely discombobulated if the kids had glued them, and therefore I did the gluing.
I love how these turned out!! They’re pretty small, but they make a big impact!
In addition to this art activity, we did this little writing activity after we read the book. The kids loved coming up with different places the chameleons were hanging out! We talked about how the chameleon would blend in with it’s surroundings, so to be sure that they matched. My kids love making class books, so once everyone was done, we bound the book and it became a part of our class library.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found something helpful for your classroom. As always, if you have any questions, please ask me in the comments.