Monday, November 8, 2010

Colorful Chameleons - Book & Activity

Today was one of those days when I wanted to skip "preschool."  I didn't have anything planned and was in a bit of a slump.  Little Brother kept bugging me though, "Mom, When are we going to do preschool?!?"  I guess I must be doing something right if he loves it so much, huh?

Anyway, I pulled A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni off the shelf, just to read it to the kids.  It's about how a chameleon is sad he doesn't have his own color like other animals.  He decides to hide on a leaf the rest of his life so he'll finally have a set color...but then fall comes and the leaf changes from green to yellow, and then to red before falling off the tree.  (Perfect story for this time of year!  I would have known that sooner if I'd actually picked up the book!)  Then he finds a friend chameleon and they decide to stay together so even if they don't have a set color, at least they'll match each other.
I'm ready to be "over" our color unit, so we can move onto other things, and I figured if I read this to the kids, we could take it back to the library.  It wasn't until I'd finished reading the book that an idea came for our activity, and it turned out awesome and was so easy!

I grabbed some wax paper from the drawer, and traced the chameleon on the cover for each of the kids with a permanent marker. 
I thought about cutting it out, but then realized the tail and legs would last about 30 seconds if they were cut out, so I just roughly cut around the main shape.  Then I handed the chameleons to them and we ran around the house helping the chameleons change color.  Little Brother LOVED it, and it now ranks among my favorite preschool activities to date. 
We had yellow.
And green (this dresser is a prime candidate for a re-paint).
And orange on our pumpkin jars (and see the fall paintings made it on the mantle eventually)
T-shirt scraps colored
And "woody" colored as Little Brother called it.
Perhaps my personal favorite "road" and yellow striped.
And of course because there's still so much Halloween candy around, we have candy colored.
"Outside colored"
And he even found his way onto one of our window leaves like in the story. 
And of course there were many more we didn't take pictures of.

Sweet Pea was a little disturbed that hers didn't have a color of his own, so she tried to color him with a marker...but I wasn't going to hand over the permanent markers so she could make it stick.

Now this brings me to the real point of this post if you've read this far...if you ever don't feel like doing activities with your kids or you think doing preschool types activities with your kids is too hard...just do it!  Even though I didn't have anything planned this turned a blah morning into a great one for me and the kids.  They love the activities and don't care if they're last minute or silly.  The more you start to do these kinds of activities with your kids, the more the ideas will come, and the better the relationship with your kids will be.  There are days when my kids drive me crazy (at moments today even), but it's pay-back in a small way when they beg for "preschool time" because it lets me know that they really appreciate the time and attention they get with it, and I've been amazed at how much they learn.

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  1. Polly, this is a super awesome idea. Seriously. Olivia already loves this book (mostly because she gets to say "purple"). I'll have to do this with her when she gets a little older. :)

  2. Very cool! Definitely bookmarking this to do with my little guy.... thanks for sharing :)

  3. I love it! I've been using most of your felt food patterns and ideas for a gift for a friend's 2.5 year old, and thought I'd check out the rest of your blog....I am a nanny who occaisionally runs out of ideas to entertain a 3.5 year old (not my favorite age, but hey!). Love it, love it, love it!!

  4. Love it! Great activity and perfect to go along with that book!

  5. I've read that book a jillion times and never thought of a waxed-paper chameleon. Brilliant, and what a fun activity for the kids. Thanks for sharing.

  6. The candy colored one is my favorite! Not just because I love skittles, but because it's so silly and creative!

  7. Great idea! My son loves chameleons, we'll have to try this.

  8. I love the way the chameleon can change color. What a great discovery idea for little ones!

  9. This post was selected one of my great posts of the week.


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