Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun Friday: Take a Color Walk

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard

THE IDEA
Observe some of spring’s beautiful colors on a nature walk with kids.

I must give a little nod to my friend Bethe over at the Grass Stain Guru for this one. Her love of crayons inspired me to ask my big explorer to pick his 10 favorite colors. Once he did, we wrote down the name of the color, too (talking about the names themselves is half the fun!) and added a small box where we would check each off as we found it.

Here’s what our list of colors looked like before we headed out:


OUR NOTES FROM THE FIELD
We brought our list along with us during a hike with some friends. (I have discovered in the past that sometimes a game of search and find can help tired legs find new-found energy.)

My only “rule” for this activity was that all the colors must be from things in nature, not from orange cones or brown shoes. Once the kids understood, they were off to see what they could find. There were plenty of dandelion-colored flowers:


And some horse poop to gawk at before checking brown off the list. There were red leaves that the boys saw but I missed. Then came the orange gems: ladybugs and butterflies:


As an added bonus, we saw painted lady butterflies, the very same as those we raised and released not so long ago.

There were plenty of rock finds, too, but this one fit the bill for my son’s favorite color choice, “bittersweet:”


Along the way, we added more colors to the list as the kids found things they thought were especially cool, like green cactus and lovely little white flowers.

The most unexpected part of this experience was that the big explorer didn’t seem to care about finding an item to match every color on his list. He seemed content to just enjoy time spent outside with friends.

I can’t wait to try this one again when the seasons change and new colors are waiting to be discovered.

TAKE-HOME TIPS
This activity was super simple and can be done just about anywhere – be it your own backyard, your favorite park or even the beach. To make it even more fun:
  • Let your child pick the colors. My son chose a great mix of colors, whereas I might have stuck with more basic ones to ensure he'd have success finding items to match. His list was much more fun!
  • Keep a few treasures. While we don’t make a habit of removing things from nature, my son wanted to bring home his “bittersweet” rock. Now we’ve both got a permanent reminder of our adventure.

MORE IDEAS FOR OUTDOOR FUN
My fellow outdoor bloggers have been busy, offering some great ideas to help you celebrate Earth Day. Here are a few nature play activities I’d love to try:
Remember: There’s a world out there worth exploring! Take your kids outside and enjoy!

12 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks a bunch for the shout out. There are so many fun ways to do color walks -- love this. :-)

    Happy weekend! Bethe @balmeras

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  2. Love this post Deb. You know how much I love color, great way to get kids exploring nature and learning their colors. Have a great weekend!

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  3. I love this idea! It's so simple and joyous and the kind of activity that can really heighten our observations in nature.

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  4. Thanks for the mention...we had such a good time making our faces :)

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  5. We do color walks with paint samples from the hardware store. The idea is at www.kinderscorner.com in the Idea Factory. Lots of fun and originally posted 4/20/10. The paint chips are great to carry in the car and/or kid bag. Perfect not only for outside but while shopping or driving to Grandma's house.

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  6. Bethe & Marghanita, I hope you both enjoy some fun #playoutdoors time this weekend -- you deserve it. Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration you continue to provide.

    Suz, I'd love to see some pictures of one of your color walks! :)

    Brimful Curiosities, loved your post & happy to share it here.

    Lisa, thanks for sharing the idea about trying this activity with paint chips instead of crayons. That's a great alternative!

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  7. That's a great idea to do with the kids. That can make hiking fun for the kids.

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  8. Shawn, my 5 1/2 year old is really into treasure hunts at the moment, so this type of activity helps him engage in a way that's meaningful to him. The other kids on our hike seemed to enjoy it, too!

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  9. What a fabulous idea! I'm totally going to do this with the kids this weekend. Or, I'll try. Don't hold me to it. It'll happen at some point. I promise!

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  10. It's amazing what you notice when you look at your surroundings and try to take in only one color. I can definitely see how this idea would make a great source of inspiration for artists of all ages throughout the ages. Writer William S Burroughs and painter Brion Gysin discuss a similar idea here in an interview from 1960 http://www.pwf.cz/en/archives/interviews/453.html
    -VBVW

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  11. @VBVW: Nature is definitely a great source of inspiration for artists!

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  12. This is so awesome! I'm volunteering with a group of kids every weekend, and am always looking for new ways to get them more interested in nature. I'll be sure to give that one a try. Thank you!

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