Connecting With Literature: Colors Part Three The Big Orange Splot By Daniel Pinkwater
The third post in my series is not so much an Invitation to Play, but more of a invitation/guided activity for kids to work on their creative drawing skills and fine motor development (while being exposed to more great children's literature). This was our ORANGE book. We completed this activity during our daily group-project time. This book means a lot to me because preschoolers are at a stage of development where "their way is the RIGHT/ONLY way". It is hard for them to see other people's perspectives :) Many preschool teachers and parents probably hear kids comment to each-other that their picture "isn't right", or they "have to build it this way". When we read this book each year, their little faces always glow, their eyes widen, and I inevitably get the chills, when they see the end of the story. They love seeing all the beautiful, creative, and different houses. This usually prompts a wonderful, age-appropriate, discussion about people loving different things. We can talk about how while one of us might want to do something one way, a friend might like it another way. And that it is okay! The book is also funny, and we get to smile and laugh a lot!
Some Ideas About My Process You could take this story in so many ways, but here is how I chose to do it:
My preschoolers get free art/coloring time each day. They can create things whenever and however they want. I think this is important. But as a preschool teacher it is also my job to help them build fine motor muscles necessary for writing, to help them learn to focus on a project for more than just a moment, and as they get older, to find joy in adding details to their artwork. This activity, connected to a wonderful book, lets me do all these things! For basics, we work on crayon grip, on taking our time instead of scribbling across the whole page, and on selecting colors that we like...thinking about our options :)
The only thing we all do together is add a "Big Orange Splot" to our roof-top. We talk about how the paint might spill in all sorts of funny ways...and they get to decide how it falls on theirs.
After the Orange splot is added, I have no expectations for the kids. They can dream up their house however they wish. Some finish within five minutes, some work for a half hour...mostly I try not to direct them after I get them started, only guide.
For my older 4s and 5s, I encourage adding details to their house, and work harder on crayon-grip and "coloring" instead of scribbling.
It is fun to see what kind of details they added, like butterflies and palm trees! This house ended up looking like a strawberry :)
One of my just-turned-three kiddos drew this house and was glowing when she was done! She just kept saying how much she wanted to live in a house just like this some day. She loved all her color choices :)
I hope this might inspire you to connect some of your long-term preschool goals to great literature! It makes the activity meaningful and gets the kids excited about reading :)