Friday, September 23, 2016

Painting with Feathers

We painted with feathers. (We like painting with various things.) This time we had yellow paint and purple paint.

The boys jumped right in and began experimenting with using the feathers. I listened as they talked about what they were doing.

Painting with Feathers (Brick by Brick)
We also learned that plastic saucers for under planters make great palletes!

Sometimes in these instances I may ask questions. But usually I listen or make obvious narrating statements as they work. ("You are making a lot of purple lines with the feather.") I don't ask what kids are painting. After all, the process - the doing - the experience is what is key here. Whatever we have at the end of the experience is fine (and doesn't need a name).

However, often the kids will supply a description of what they are doing.

"I'm making a yellow road," one said as he used lots of yellow paint on his paper.

Painting with Feathers (Brick by Brick)

"A yellow road," I repeated. He said something else about it.

The other boy continued to work. Then he said, "I'm making brown."

Painting with Feathers (Brick by Brick)

And he was. He carefully painted yellow over the purple on his paper to create a brown color.

I was reminded of David Elkind's idea that kids play to learn what they need to know. This particular boy was exploring color and wanted to know more about it. In fact, he said exactly what he was doing instead of naming an object that he was painting.

And then the other boy wanted to make brown, too. He began to explore what to do to mix the colors and get brown.

Later, another child came to the table. Discussion about brown came up and he explored making the color, too.

I would have never suggested they try to make brown. (Mainly because I wouldn't have thought of it.) But through play and exploration we all discovered that mixing yellow and purple can make brown. (Even if it's not the most attractive color we could have created!)

Often in our painting activities we create some type of brown or gray. This is the first time (at least that I can remember) that we made brown ON PURPOSE.

I call that a successful exploration.

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