Colour is an excellent learning tool for children, and a thought starter for some great activities. Exploring the colours of the environment encourages their curiosity, develops their powers of perception, and helps them learn about cultures and seasons. The Colours in Nature blog series celebrates the natural colours that you can explore with your child. Each blog post focuses on a chosen colour and all its many varieties to be found through playing and exploring. Try these kids’ activities so you and your child can explore all the different shades of green together.
Where to find green things in nature
Green appears in all sorts of places in all sorts of shades. Here are some starting points for your hunt for green – but remember to dig deep and find unusual shades of green, from the pale yellowy to the intense and dark, that are unique to where you are at particular times of year.
Colours of plants: green trees and leaves
Trees and leaves on the ground are the obvious place to start in any good hunt for shades of green! There might seem to be lots of them, all blending with one another, but don’t take trees for granted; all countries have their own varieties, including fruit trees. For example, in Brazil, especially the northeast, look out for bright green coconuts on palm trees, with equally bright green leaves. Be sure to get your kids spotting the differences between one leaf and another. Do they have any ideas why leaves are different shades of green? It doesn’t have to be a correct answer; it’s just good to give them the opportunity to think and talk about what they’re seeing, if they are really struggling to come up with ideas then give them a little prompt, for instance, maybe some trees get less sun than others.
Make this more than just a ‘spotting’ activity by collecting a selection of leaves, bringing them home and displaying them in a scrapbook with a description of each type of green. Your kids could even make leaf rubbings to help them understand the differences in the veins and textures. Place each leaf under a piece of paper and rub a green crayon over the paper – the texture of the leaf will magically emerge on the page. If your kids’ clothes pick up any mud or dirt when they’re out hunting for leaves, let the mud dry, and then scrape it off, before washing the clothes as normal using your regular Surf excel detergent.
Green things at the beach
Green might not be what you’re focusing on when you’re at the beach! The blue sky and the yellow or white sand might catch your eye first. But, look beyond the obvious, wait for the tide to go out, and you’ll find the rich green of seaweed. If you’re at the beach, you might see translucent, fluorescent green seaweed in rock pools and growing over rocks, as well as on the shore. If you don’t live near a beach and your children are experiencing the sea for the first time on holiday, exploring the rock pools for shades of green is a great activity to introduce your children to the secrets of the sea!
Shades of green on the city walls
Every city has shades of green, play ‘Eye Spy’ with your child asking them to spot different greens on the walk to school or even on a shopping trip. From moss growing on walls to fresh shoots of green grass, there may even be some creepy caterpillars. Many insects and creatures like to pay a visit from their natural habitat into a big city. You might catch a flash of green when you least expect it and if you live in a hot country, look out for the bright green of the common Asian house gecko, often found climbing the walls of houses in search of insects.
Record your greens
Discoveries of shades of green deserve to be recorded and treasured – so get your kids to keep a green scrapbook, in which they could keep leaves they’ve collected and notes about where they found them. The green things they collect could inspire them to mix shades of green watercolour paint, trying to match exactly the shades and intensities of green by mixing in more or less water.