Friday, June 21, 2013

Teaching Colors, Camouflage, and Books


Those who know me, know I love the book Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh.

I remember being fascinated, as a child, by mixing colors to make other colors. Stranger still, for me, was that some colors aren't made by others at all. They just are.

Wow! Those three primary colors were like the Color Gods in my mind. They were the beginning of all other colors. I remember spending time on the back porch on a summer's day mixing the colors of my crayons, and asking my artist mother over and over what to mix to make orange, green and purple, until I could remember them myself.

But back to Mouse Paint. What fun to play in the paints to mix colors. After all, these mice are so darn cute that who could resist those little pink feet dancing in the colors? And the stakes are high because, after all, there is a cat.This book leaves adults and children alike wanting to get out the paints to try it themselves--the mixing, not the dancing in them. And why not?

To play along, I have this free mouse image here for you and your littles to paint on. Print it on white
paper to simulate the mice in the book (and so your paints will appear truer in color).

Now, want to make some strong science connections as well? Talk to your kids about the mice hiding on the white page. Tell them there really are animals in the world that use their natural colors to hide. We call this camouflage. The Discovery Channel has a great set of photos showing amazing animal camouflage here. Look out your window and help your kids to notice camouflaged animals outside: squirrels are the color of tree bark, many birds are soft brown that help them blend in with trees and brush. Rabbits too.

Here's another adorable color-mixing book--this one featuring a white rabbit:

White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker

Here are some great camouflage books:

 What Color is Camouflage? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science, Stage 2) by Carolyn B. Otto, Illustrated by Megan Lloyd--Gentle text (though it does talk about predators and prey, and animals being hunted by others) with great illstrations that demonstrate how animals really do blend into their surroundings.

Where in the Wild?" Camouflaged Creates Concealed...and Revealed by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy--Beautiful photos of animals "hiding in plain sight," coupled with poetry. This book also has a lot of nonfiction about the animals featured, making it a great resource for reports.

Here's a free hands-on color work and camouflage lesson packet for the beginning readers. If you're
looking for something older, I'll have an Animals Adaptations/Camouflage lesson soon at my Teacher's Store here.

Mouse Paints is a great introduction to colors and the concept camouflage as an animal adaptation. I'd love to here your experiences with  these topics in your classroom!

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