We’ve been doing a lot of painting in our home these last few weeks. We’ve been doing a lot of explorations reinforcing the concept of the primary colors and how they mix together to make the other colors. We’ve made a primary color mobile, a symmetry exploration, and a sensory painting experience using the primary colors. Today we add another addition to our painting experiences, we spent some time exploring shapes and the primary colors through shape stamp painting.
I intended this activity to be a way of discussing shapes with my preschooler, but – as she proudly and sweetly told me – “I already know what those shapes are mommy.” I had made stamps of a circle, square, and triangle. So, next time I’ll use a trapezoid, rhombus, and dodecagon.
Objective 1: Introduce basic shapes – circle, triangle, and square – to young children.
Objective 2: Reinforce the concept that the primary colors can be mixed to form all other colors.
Objective 3: Allow the children the opportunity to explore stamping and creating with the three different shapes.
Craft paint in red, yellow, and blue
Three toilet paper tubes, cut in thirds and molded into three squares, three triangles, and three circles
A painting tray (I used my favorite, a pie tin).
Heavy paper (like card stock) for each child
Take a moment and show the children the different shaped stamps. Talk about what makes a shape a circle, square, and triangle.
My mathematically inclined husband defines a circle as the set of all points that are equidistant from a single point, the center, on a plane. He defines a square as a quadrilateral with four congruent sides and four congruent (right) angles. And he defines a triangle as any three, non-collinear points connected by line segments.
However, I told my children that a circle is a continuous round line, that has no points, or edges. I explained to my children that a square has four corners, that are 90 degree angles, and four straight edges, and all the edges are the same size. And I said a triangle is a group of three corners with three connecting lines.
I guess you can choose the level of difficulty to include in this discussion for yourself.
After this discussion, it’s time to start stamping. I explained that there was a set of shapes for each color of paint. I told my children that I wanted them to stamp a picture using the shapes and colors. I showed them how to use the stamps and explained they could mix colors on the paper as part of their design. I kept the paper towel handy to wipe fingers and stamps. Throughout the activity, I encouraged my children to mix different colors and see what would happen.
My Kindergartner immediately used the shapes to create houses with circle shaped yards. He then went on to tell me a lengthy, and creative, story about the four suns in the sky and what each meant. One sun burnt up all of the grass. One sun sent everyone to another place. One sun made them all part of the Pokemon world. One sun brought all of the grass back. And finally he created a person’s body. He titled his artwork “Poke-mess”. He’s currently experiencing a Pokemon fixation.
My preschooler started by using the stamps to create a fabulously textured sky and grass. She then build a house (with blue windows on the outside), and a field of wheat and another field of flowers. She also made a sun in the sky. She titled her work “The Pokemon Movie” mostly because her big brother used Pokemon in his title.
My second grader also wanted to do this experience. He did more smearing with the stamps to mix the colors then actual stamping. He was very creative and made a helicopter, a landing pad, a giant sunflower, and a fantastic tree. He had a lot of fun, and was laughing through the whole experience. He titled his work “Krazy” (sic).
This was a really fun activity that allowed my children to learn some geometry, and have some free expression. It was really fun to listen to them as they created their works of art. I also enjoyed watching them use these basic shapes to create interesting pictures.