One Sunflower

through a child’s eyes…

on October 10, 2009

I watched a video of a kindergarten teacher doing a community building project with her students and was inspired to try it. She had various colors of paint in multi-ethnic skin colors with marvelous names like “nutmeg,” “walnut” and “caramel cream.”  Because I didn’t want to spend a fortune on paint, I hunted up and down the aisles of our local craft stores and found a small collection of acrylics in tones that matched various skin colors.  I also found some precut foam heads and decided they would make the project a bit easier.  If I used them, the students could focus on their personal characteristics rather than laboriously cutting out a large circle.

It was quite a treat to sit with each child, a small paint mixing palette in front of us and about 7 different shades.  First I asked each child to choose the color they thought would match their skin the best and I dabbed a bit on the back of their hand. Then we chatted about whether to add a lighter or darker shade – because there was never  a perfect match right out of the bottle!  That was the part the children loved the best, mixing the shades and trying it out each time to find the right combination.

They painted their foam faces one day and on subsequent days I brought out hand mirrors and each child examined their hair and eyes to make decisions about how to finish their portraits.  Sometimes I had to say, “Naw, your hair isn’t that color!” but usually they were fairly discriminating about their choices.  Great big pools of glue were squeezed out and yarn was laid either in clumps or strand by strand depending on the child’s personality.  Eyes were plopped into smaller drops of glue and red markers were chosen to draw mouths.  After careful examination in the mirrors again, (because it is very difficult to figure out how to draw a nose,)  the children would draw some combination of circles,  dots  or lines.

The most priceless part of the whole activity came at the end – and almost every child did this:   they held the mirror up to the foam face as if it was smiling at it’s image and saying,  “Don’t I look grand!?!”

One response to “through a child’s eyes…

  1. Lindsay Nyberg says:

    I think I saw the same video from Teaching Tolerance. They have some great curriculum. The foam faces were a great idea! I wish I had thought of that. Looking forward to seeing more posts. Cheers!

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