Wildlife rainbows is a celebration of the colors found in nature. We’ll wake up the five senses with activities that provide you with the opportunity to teach your child about color through stories, songs, art projects, matching games, movement activities, and more. We hope that you will continue the fun and learning by duplicating your child’s favorite activities at home.
Activity: Spring Weather Calendar
Spring weather is very unpredictable. Talk about today’s weather. Is it cold or warm? Sunny or cloudy? Raining? Windy or calm? Each morning record today’s weather on a calendar. Place a sun, cloud, raindrop or snowflake sticker on today’s date. As your child grows, add the temperature at lunchtime each day. At the end of the month count the number of sunny days, cloudy days and rainy days.
Activity: All the colors of the rainbow
Gather animal pictures from calendars, magazines or online (or if you are an artist, draw and color picture of plants and animals). Examples of wildlife pictures to look for are a (red) cardinal, (blue) bird, (green) bullfrog, (orange) red fox, (orange) fox squirrel, (yellow) goldfinch, (brown) deer, (white) ermine or weasel with a winter coat, (black) crow, (black) bear, (brown) rabbit, (white) polar bear etc.
Cut slots into a large box, one (or more) slot(s) on each side. Color code each slot by coloring around the slot to match the colors of your wildlife pictures (or you can use a shoe box with slot in the top— one box for each color).
Once your “mailboxes” are made, ask your toddler to sort the picture by color, then help him/her to slip each picture into the matching colored slot of your shoe boxes or large box.
Activity: Wildlife Rainbow Song
Give your pictures (from the activity above), double duty.
Sing the following color song to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”
Where is Red?
Where is Red?
Here I Am (show your toddler the picture of red wildlife)
Here I Am
Show me if you can
Show me if you can
Where is Red?
Where is Red?
Activity: Color Count
Have on hand, about ten or twenty large pom-poms in a variety of colors, and a paper lunch sack, or old Pringles Chip can, plastic coffee can, or other medium-sized container. As your child to drop pom-poms, one at a time, into the container, helping her to name the color as she does so (if she only wants to drop and dump, that’s ok too!) You can also try counting pom-poms as you drop them into the can.
Activity: Wow, That’s Bright
Many poisonous animals have very bright colors. Thankfully they don’t live in Iowa! Notice the bright colors on the frogs of the rainforest? Check out a book from the library on the rainforest. Ask your tot to name the colors of the animals in the pictures.
Activity: Flipping Frog
Use a sheet of lightweight green paper to make a paper frog. Roll the paper into a cone for the body. Decorate it and add paper legs if you like. Set your frog gently on top of an empty, dry detergent bottle. What do you think will happen when you squeeze the bottle?
Activity: Leap Frog
Play leap frog with stuffed frogs. Other animals can be substituted if you don’t have stuffed animal frogs. Place the frogs on the ground in a line. Show your tot how to hop like a frog. Can you hop over the frogs? Make sure the frogs get a chance to hoop over your tot too.
Activity: Painting with Violets (or dandelions)
What happens when you rub a violet (or dandelion) on a piece of white paper? Try painting with flower heads. Press the flower head in paint then press on a piece of paper.
Activity: Color Feather Match
Gather an assortment of craft feather and construction paper cards. On each card, write the name of the color in black marker. Lay them out on the table. Give your child a craft feather. “I have a red feather. Can you find the red piece of paper?” For very young children, start with only two colors. Display pictures of colorful birds. Try matching the feathers to the birds. Examples of bird pictures include the cardinal, oriole, goldfinch, crow, bluebird, blue jay, purple martin, red-tailed hawk, screech owl (gray phase), indigo bunting.
Note: Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits the possession of wild bird feathers, bird nests, or any part of a bird. Exceptions include those birds legally taken with a hunting permit and non-native birds like the house sparrow. Check with local department of natural resources for exceptions.
Activity: Wildlife Color Match
Purchase two sets of animal stickers (use pets, birds, mammals, insects, flowers, or a combination). Gather up some white index cards and help your child to put one sticker on teach card, making sure you have a pair of cards for each of our stickers (example: two cards, each with a red bird; two cards with a pink flower, two cards with a brown dog, etc.) Mix up the cards and lay face up on a table. Have your child choose one of the cards (say out loud to your child, for example: “A brown rabbit. Can you find a match?”) Help your child only if she needs it. The game is over when all of the pairs have been found.
Activity: Furry Bird
Cut out a shape of a bird or draw an outline of a bird on a large piece of paper. Using a glue stick, help your tot glue feathers to his bird (note: feathers in all colors can be purchased at your local craft store).
Activity: Sensory Seed Box
Fill a large container with a grain, like flax or rice. Use cups, containers, and spoons to fill and dump just like you would a sandbox. Can you feel around and find the hidden items?
Activity: Colored Caterpillars
Cut a leaf shape out of green construction paper. Watch your child glue a short row of large, different colored pom-poms onto the leaf to make a caterpillar.
Activity: Match a Batch of Colors
Snip circles or squares out of a variety of colored construction paper. Make sure that your shapes are large enough for little hands to hold on to. (For durability’s sake, you can laminate your cards with clear contact paper). Let your child choose a color that catches her eye. Take your card outside. Discover the color in trees, flowers, fallen leaves, rocks, feathers…whatever may be waiting along your path. Verbally repeat the color when your child finds its match in nature. Choose a new color after a bit, and continue your matching adventure.
Activity: Rainbow Butterfly
Take a coffee filter and ask your tot to color on it with washable markers. Hang the filter on a clothesline or put on a covered table. Ask your tot to spray lightly with water from a spray bottle. All of the colors will run together. When dry, pinch the filter in the middle until it resembles butterfly wings. Place this in a clothespin or twist a pipe cleaner around the middle as the butterfly body. Add a magnet strip on the back of the clothespin if you wish and voila!…a clothespin butterfly to hang on the fridge.
Activity: Wildlife Color Rubbings
Grab a paper bag and head outside with your toddler to the backyard. Gather up things like green grass, brown bark, yellow dandelions, gray rocks, etc. (say the color and object name as your child drops his findings into the bag). At home, take out a large piece of white paper and lay it on a table or the floor. Dump out the contents of our bag. Help your child to rub each of the objects onto the white paper (you may have to rub hard!) Does it leave a colored mark?
Activity: Blue Sky, Smilin’ at Me!
Head out to your backyard or nearby meadow or woods. Lay a large blanket onto a nice soft area. Lying face up with your child, take note of the sights, sounds, and smells. Name the colors that you see: blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, red bird, brown squirrel, etc. Take advantage of the quiet time to listen to your toddler’s observation about what he/she sees and hears.
Activity: Rainbow Stew
For grown-ups: Get a small pot and mix about 1 cup of cornstarch with some water. Heat the mixture up until very thick. Remove the ‘stew’ from the heat and place in a sturdy zippered, plastic bag. Add several drops of different colored food coloring and duct tape the top to help prevent inquisitive fingers. Once warm (not hot), give the bag to your toddler and allow him/her to manipulate the stew and observe the changes in color.
Use a spoon to mix equal parts of flour, salt, and water in a bowl. Divide this mixture into cups. Add a different color of tempera paint to each cup. Powdered gelatin or drink mix can be substituted for paint. Place each color mixture into a different squeeze bottle. Squeeze the paint mixture onto paper in any design. Let the paint dry to see the crystals and sparkles. The mixtures can be spread with a spatula instead of squeezed. Varying the sizes of the holes in the squeeze bottles gives different effects.
Activity: Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Pull out stuffed animals of all colors, shapes, and sizes and do your own live version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. “Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?” (hold up your child’s brown bear); “I see a (pink bunny) looking at me.” “Pink Bunny, Pink Bunny what do you see? I see a …”
Two Little Blackbirds
Two little blackbirds sitting on the hill
(hold up the pointer finger of each hand)
One named Jack and one named Jill
(wiggle “Jack” and then wiggle “Jill”)
Fly away, Jack (wiggle your finger then put it behind your back in a flying motion)
Fly away, Jill (wiggle your other finger and then put it behind your back)
Come back, Jack (bring back Jack)
Come back, Jill (bring back Jill)
Little Red Robinbreast
Little Red Robinbreast sat upon a tree (raise arms)
Up went kittycat, down went he (lower one arm, while raising the other)
Down went kitty cat, and away robin ran (both arms down)
Says Little Red Robinbreast, “Catch me if you can!”
Will You Read To Me?
Take time to enjoy a story.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker
I love Colors by Margaret Miller
Happy Baby Colors by Roger Priddy
Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert
Snack Idea: Color Buffet!
Lay out a variety of different colors of fruits and vegetables: Red apples, orange slices, green cucumbers, yellow bananas, etc. Say the color and name of the fruit or vegetable as your toddler takes a taste. If the food item is something that your toddler has not tasted before, encourage him to touch the food lightly with the tip of his tongue. Ask, “what do you think?”
Activities provided by:
E Resources Group
2550 Stagecoach Road
Webster City, Iowa 50595-7375
Toddling on the Wild Side was supported by the REAP-CEP grant program.