- books such as The Colors of Us by Karen Katz or All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger
- tempera paint: red, yellow, black, and white
- white paper/paintbrushes
- mixing cups
- containers of water
- freezer wrap or wax paper (to use as a mixing palette)
- craft sticks
Objective: Children will develop science, creative thinking, and observational skills, as they engage in an activity to learn about color mixtures that create skin tones.
- Read one of the recommended books and engage children in a discussion about their physical differences and similarities. Encourage children to notice special traits of their friends such as eye color, hairstyles, or skin tones.
- Invite children to use red, yellow, black and white tempera paint to learn how color mixtures can create different skin tones.
- Tape freezer wrap or wax paper to the art table. Provide children with paintbrushes, individual containers of the suggested tempera paints, containers of water craft sticks for mixing colors, and white paper. Invite small groups of children to work together to experiment with mixing the colors. Offer assistance if needed.
- Ask children to use the colors to see how many different skin tones can they create. Can they mix colors similar to their own skin colors or those of their friends?
- After all the children have had an opportunity to experiment with the color mixtures, invite them to share their work with the class. Ask them to share what they learned about mixing colors. What did they learn about skin color from this activity? How many different variations of skin tones did they create? Keep paint materials available for the children to continue the color mixing investigation.
Curriculum Connection: ART
Invite children to use the tempera paints to make a portrait of a classmate. Provide the required art materials and small table mirrors. Ask children to work in pairs and take turns sitting for their portraits. They can make decorative frames for the portraits and create a "portrait gallery" to display their work. Include writings or dictations about the process of their investigations to accompany the display.
The Art Lesson by Tomie de Paola
Black Is Brown Is Tan by Arnold Adoff
The Land of Many Colors by Klamath County YMCA Family Preschool