Every stroke of a paintbrush, every drop of glue, every overlay of color creates an observe able change. As children enjoy experimenting, they are also observing cause and effect. And even though the product of these experiments is not as important as the process, children take enormous pride in the results of their efforts!

Setting up

Consider setting up different parts of your art area as creative "exploratoriums." For example, you could provide reflective papers, aluminum foil, colored cellophane, and flashlights. Add other basic art materials such as plain white paper, cardboard, and glue. Ask: "How many ways can we use these materials?" and "What else can we add to reflect light and color?"

Provide daily "surprises" at your easel area. Change the colors, textures, and/or types of paint. Change the materials children paint on, including different types of paper and add three-dimensional materials (such as paper tubes, egg cartons, or small boxes). Change the materials children paint with, including different types of brushes, feather dusters, and corks. Feel free to use your imagination!

Experimenting With Color and Light

  • Here is a "spectrum of activities" to try in your art area:
  • Experiment with painting on wet and dry paper. What happens to the colors on wet paper? On dry paper? What happens when you hold the painting in the sunlight or shine a flashlight on it?
  • What do you see when you put colored ice cubes in a clear glass of vegetable oil? Try it in different lights!
  • Paint with vegetable oil on colored paper using cotton swabs as brushes. What happens when your picture is exposed to light?
  • Draw crayon pictures on paper that is placed on a warming tray. (Be sure to carefully supervise this activity.) Children can create "rainbows" by drawing with different crayons that are taped together. What happens when the crayons are warmed? When light shines through the pictures?
  • Place two different colors of homemade play dough in a sealed plastic bag. Invite children to mix the colors together by squeezing the bag. What happens to the colors? Will light shine through them?