3 Creative Ways To Have Fun With Color This Summer: summertime and the living is easy……. schools out, the weather is warm and it’s time for family vacations, summer camps, swimming and generally life being slightly less hectic than it is during the rest of the year.
Summer is also a great time to use creativity and project based learning activities to keep teaching your children and expanding their knowledge of the things they were working on during the school year, but with a fun summer twist. I mean really, isn’t it way more fun doing everything outdoors on a beautiful summer day rather than being cooped up in the house. And let’s face it, cleaning up outside is much easier then it is inside…
My 7 year old daughter is fascinated with colors, how they blend and mix to create other colors, how they reflect the heat or attract the heat, how they make you feel, sad, happy, hungry, anxious… How they can make a space look larger or smaller. Why businesses in the same industry seem to use the same colors, think McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr, In & Out Burger, all of their logo’s are red and yellow, have you ever stopped to think about why that is? Well the positive psychological qualities of red and yellow in relation to the fast food industry are, red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger and it attracts attention. Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness, warm like the sun, When you combine red and yellow it becomes about speed, quickness, fast and friendly. Get in, eat and get out again, easily…. Yellow is also the most visible color in daylight, so that you can spot their locations from a greater distance.
The language of color is communicated quicker to the brain than words or shapes as they work directly on our feelings and emotions.
Activity #1 – Make A Tie-Dye Rainbow Cake
What You’ll Need:
Ingredients for cake
- White cake mix (we used gluten free)
- Neon Food Coloring, red, yellow, blue
- (2) large organic egg whites
- Butter & flour for greasing baking pan
- 9″ x 9″ baking pan (or any size you like)
- 6 small bowls for separating the batter
- White frosting or any color fondant for icing
Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions on the box: Divide the batter into the six smaller bowls and start mixing your Primary Colors, RED, YELLOW & BLUE. Once you’ve got those mixed you can make your Secondary Colors, GREEN, ORANGE & PURPLE. Take the yellow food coloring and mix it into the batter, slowly add a few drops of blue and mix until you have the green that you like. For orange, start with yellow, mix in a few drops of red until the vibrant orange you desire is achieved, and finally for purple start by making red and then add a few drops of blue until you get the purple that you want.
Now that you have all of your colors made start by pouring the red batter into the pan, allowing it to spread across the bottom of the pan, now pour the orange in towards one side of the pan then the yellow on the other side, then pour the green on top of the orange and the blue on top of the yellow and finally pour the purple on top. Then take a butter knife and start at one side of the pan and drag it across the batter, repeat this around the pan until you have a cool tie-dye patten. Now bake according to the instructions on your mix and let cool.
We used multi-colored fondant for our icing, we rolled it out and cut it into strips and placed them on the cake in a rainbow pattern then trimmed the excess off the edges. Then we used bottle caps to cut the fondant circles and placed drops of cake icing on top of them and attached the candy flowers! Voila’ we had a really fun, colorful and super yummy tie-dye cake!
Activity #2 – Color Temperature
Kids get to test whether the color of a material affects how much heat gets absorbed. My daughter has recently learned that wearing her favorite black outfit on a hot sunny day is not the best way to stay cool. How this exercise works is they leave ice cubes placed in boxes made of colored paper (one box per color; white, yellow, red, blue and black) in the sun, and predict in which colored boxes the ice cubes will melt first, then they record the order and how long they think it’s going to take for the ice cubes to melt.
- 5 sheets of colored paper per person (white, yellow, red, black, blue)
- scissors (to cut out the boxes from the colored paper)
- clear tape, to assemble the boxes.
- 5 ice cubes per person
- Hot, Sunny Day
- Color Temperature Activity Box Template
- color temperature activity_worksheet
Before the Activity
Make enough ice cubes so that each person participating has five. Try to make them the same size for experiment consistency.
To save time, pre-cut and assemble (using tape) the colored boxes into five-sided boxes each big enough to fit an ice cube. Otherwise, you can have the kids cut, fold and tape together their own boxes.
Gather the rest of the materials that you’ll need.
Make copies of the Activity Worksheet, one per participant.
- Lay down newspaper or plastic in an open sunny place outside.
- On the newspaper or plastic, place the five boxes side by side with the opening facing away from the sun so your child can peek inside.
- Give each child the five ice cubes and have them place one ice cube in the center of each colored box.
- Let the ice cubes sit in the sun having your child check on them every few minutes to watch their progress until they have fully melted, then have them record which ice cubes actually melted first, second, third, fourth and fifth.
- Talk about their observations, touching on the different colors and their ability to reflect or attract light and heat. Also, talk about how these color characteristics helped to melt the ice.
Activity #3 – Colored Sand Bottle
I remember when I was a kid going to the local carnival and spending a good deal of my allowance trying to win a cool colored sand bottle. They were made in melted coke bottles that were elongated, they were bright and colorful and as far as I was concerned they stood for all things summer. The long New Jersey winters where I grew up made summertime all the more amazing!
So when my daughter saw one at a craft fair recently I was excited to teach her how to make our own and I used it as another way to work with her on mixing colors. We used only the primary colors, red, yellow and blue. We bought a box of Epsom salt and divided it into 6 bowls, we put 7 drops of red in and wearing gloves mixed it together until it was the brightness that we wanted, next up 7 drops of blue, hand-mixed and then 9 drops of yellow. Now was the fun part making orange, green and purple. For orange we used 4 drops of red and 5 drops of yellow, for green, 5 drops of blue and 6 drops of yellow and for purple 6 drops of blue and 5 drops of red.
Once we had all of our desired colors we grabbed our bottle, which was from a sparking lemonade and has the attached top ,and our handy funnel. We talked about how we wanted it to look, which colors would go first second, etc.. I used this part of the activity as an opportunity to talk about complimentary colors, colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, ie: red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple all while having fun!
Here’s how our colored sand bottle turned out!