Make learning about color and light fun with hands-on activities.

Activities for Children About Colors & Light

by Kelly Sundstrom

As a mom, you know how much little children are naturally attracted to colors and light. Color and light are some of life's most magical things, and you can show your toddlers and preschoolers just how magical they can be with interactive projects. Let's face it, little children are too young to really get a lot out of a major science experiment with color and light. Keep it simple to allow your children to light up the room!

1. Refraction Activities

"Why is the sky blue?" You might hear your little ones say things like thing from time to time, but may not know clearly how to answer her. Don't get flustered; explain to your child about color and light by demonstrating it with refraction activities. You don't need big, expensive science kits either. All you need to do is to place a glass of water on a table next to a sunny window, making sure that the sun shines directly through the glass. Place a sheet of white paper underneath the table to catch the refracted light, which has now split into a rainbow of colors. If you have a prism, you can simple place the prism into a ray of sunlight and place a sheet of paper in front of it to see the colors.

2. Spectrum Art

Nothing beats the beauty of a rainbow, so why not celebrate the colors of the rainbow with your children with a few arts and crafts projects. Choose crafts that will teach your little ones about the proper order of the spectrum, not just about random colors. This way, if they see the spectrum in a real rainbow or from a prism they will be able to say, "Hey! The colors are in the right order!" You can teach little children about the spectrum by getting out tempera paints and placing them on a table top in the right order; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Lay out a large sheet of craft paper, and help your child paint a rainbow on the paper in the right order. Or, make a salt dough rainbow by helping your child roll out a coil using all seven colors of the rainbow, then arranging the clay coils into an arch on a table top.

3. Light Activities

You can't have color without light! Show your children how much fun light can be with simple activities that use light as the main source of entertainment. Hang up a curtain and shine a big flashlight or spotlight on it. Sit in between the light and the curtain and make shadow puppets with your children. You could even put on a shadow puppet play. Light can also be used to play a fun game of tag along the wall. Give your children each a flashlight, and you have one, too. Let one of you be "it," who shines their light along the wall. Try to take turns catching the first light with your own light.

4. Color and Water Activities

Teach your children how different colors can be combined to create new colors with a little creativity and a little water. Fill two cups with water, then add in a few drops of food coloring into each of the cups; one blue and one red. Show your children how purple is formed when you pour the red and the blue water into another cup. You can also do the same thing to create green and orange by combining the right colors. Don't just stop there! Keep pouring colors together to see what happens. Eventually you will end up with brown water, but your children will have a blast learning about color combinations.

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