Paint dabbers are a marvelous invention and Little Sister had lots of fun painting an apple. When I told her she got to paint an apple, though, she started painting on a real one! Kids take things literally so it was a good reminder to be specific. She was going to do a paint project.
We used some of the apples from the neighbor’s tree and looked at all their colors. Some were all red, some were all green, but most of them were red and green together. I cut an apple shape from a brown paper bag and let her dab on colors.
She started with red, then added green. She quite enjoyed dotting the paper with color so I wasn’t surprised when she used yellow and orange too. Some parts of an apple were maybe yellow and orange. Then she asked me to unscrew the top on the purple paint. I asked her if an apple was purple? She showed me one that was a very deep red color and dabbed some purple on her project. I wondered if she wanted blue, after all she had all the other colors. She laughed like I had made a joke and told me, “No, apples not blue.”
While I thought this would be a fun play-of-the-day for fine muscle coordination and practicing colors, it was much more. After painting with one color, Little Sister looked at the other containers and took her time about choosing what color would be next. She looked over at the real apples on the counter a few times. She used some self-talk, remarking “I paint,” a few times and asked for help when she needed it. So often, when children play, we do not see all the strategies and thinking that is happening. Simple activities can have a surprising amount of complexity. What colors are the apples at your house?