I have been wanting to do a colour wheel activity with Yummy for many moons, to get her thinking about colour vocabulary and how the different colours work together.
On a big piece of poster paper, I traced a big circle, using an enormous embroidery hoop (a big bucket or stool would work fine too, or if you are really good at drawing circles, you could freehand it). Mine are always lopsided.
We started with the title. I pencilled the words in lightly, and Yummy used foam letter stickers to match what I'd written.
Yummy requested I draw some hearts on the poster so I drew two on each side of the title to introduce the concepts and vocabulary of primary and secondary colours. I told her which colours are primary colours: red, yellow, blue. I explained that these three colours can't be created by mixing other colours and that they can be mixed to make most of the other colours (I'm just keeping it simple -she IS only four). The secondary colours (orange, violet/purple, green) are created by mixing two of the primary colours. I labelled the colour wheel as we sounded out each word.
We used my Sharpie markers to put a little colour reminder in each slice. Yummy drew a lovely (and very squiggly) purple balloon.
To fill in the colour wheel, I decided to do some cutting and glueing. Painting each slice in is always a nice activity, especially since you can actually see firsthand how the colours mix, but we'd just finished some painting already this morning and Yummy was ready for something different. I got out my bin of picture bits that I save from magazines, greetings cards, etc. Yummy and I sifted through, hunting for colours to match the wheel, cutting bits and pieces and glueing them into their appropriate sections. Yummy gets a bit frustrated when she can't control the scissors perfectly, but with some encouragement she keeps at it for a while.
There was no way this colour wheel was going to be completed without some pink, so I allowed her to put some in the red section, informing Yummy that when white is added to red it becomes pink. I grabbed this teaching moment to explain that a colour with white added to it is called a tint, and one with black added is called a shade.
Some of the pictures contained more than one colour so I got to introduce the idea of one colour being dominant over the others (another sparkly teaching moment!). When there is a lot of one colour, or if that colour if very bright it becomes dominant over the others. So we added a picture of the Man With the Yellow Hat to the yellow section of our wheel, since yellow is the dominant colour despite there being some green and black.
I helped out filling the sections up with colour pieces -it was a pretty big project for a girl who's attention span isn't always very long. It was a lot of fun sitting and working with Yummy, chatting about colours, what we would have for lunch today, white horses and unicorns... Yummy gets such visible pleasure from spending one-on-one time with me; I need to make more time for it!
Yummy's colour wheel is hanging in the kitchen. Finally I have something to refer to when I feel the need to teach about complimentary and analogous colours... It's actually fairly often -there is just something glorious about art vocabulary that I have loved since eighth grade art. The words and their definitions are happy little jewels that roll around in my head. Now I have a malleable little person to share these gems with.
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The Elements of Visual Art in this activity:
1. Colour: primary and secondary colours, tint and shade, dominant colours
1. Fine motor skill practice: peeling and placing the stickers, as well as using scissors and glue.
2. Literacy: matching letters
3. Art Vocabulary: colour wheel, primary colours, secondary colours, colour mixing, dominant, tint and shade