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What Can You Do With A Big Orange Splot?

An important part of learning to be resilient is learning to adjust when kids hit challenging situations. How? Through games/activities in which the rules and expectations shift unexpectedly. This week at Tinkergarten, inspired by the book The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater, we invite kids to imagine how they could turn a mistake into something beautiful.

The Guide

Get inspiration from the book!

Watch the read-aloud of Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. Wonder, how was Mr. Plumbean feeling when the splot fell on his house? How would you feel? How did Mr. Plumbean respond to that unexpected challenge? Older kids can also be prompted to remember a time when something didn't go according to plan and how they felt and responded to that challenge.

Introduce big orange splots.

Print out the downloadable Big Orange Splot sheets and look at the different shapes together. Wonder, what could we turn this orange splot into? Does this shape remind you of anything? Discuss ideas together and welcome kids to choose one of the sheet options to start.

Offer art materials and create!

Offer markers, crayons, paint, stickers or any materials you have on hand and invite kids to start creating. As they add to the sheet, notice aloud how they are incorporating the splot into their design and celebrate their creativity, flexibility and problem solving skills!

Extend play!

If kids enjoyed the challenge of turning a splot into something wonderful, try out some of these ways to nurture resilience and adaptability through play:
  • Create your own nature paints: How can we create colorful art without paint? Fortunately, nature is full of color and with a few simple tools, kids can transform an ordinary sheet into a vibrant display of Nature’s Tie-Dye!  Read more about this activity here.
  • What If…?.What could we create  if all of our art materials disappeared? Head outside and discover what you can create using only the materials you can find in your outdoor space. Draw in the dirt with a stick, create a nature display, turn nature treasures into paint brushes and stamps, make mud prints, paint with water, and make shadow designs. Visit our What If… DIY for more!
  • Create your own Big Orange Splot house: To inspire more play with this read-aloud, offer kids a box and welcome them to use markers, paint or scissors (with a grown-ups assistance) to make windows, doors and a big orange splot. Invite kids to add more colors and designs to their house, just like Mr. Pumbean did. Once decorated, their house can inspire even more imaginative pretend play.
  • Yes! And...: Try some art improvisation together by making a splot or mark on a piece of paper. Then, invite your child to add to it and turn it into something new. Repeat! Watch this fun video for grown-ups for more on how to use the "Yes, and..." golden rule of improv theater to keep the play going and keep kids in the lead.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Great children's books, like Big Orange Splot can offer just the right spark for creative play. When we model playful and joyful ways to adjust to challenges and respond to the unexpected, we help kids build resilience and flexibility, skills they will need to thrive no matter what life brings. As kids take on the challenge of turning a mistake into something wonderful, they practice creativity and important problem-solving mindsets

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  • In either format, a certified Tinkergarten Leader will teach a Tinkergarten lesson and inspire your kids to play.
  • Sample the additional activities and resources families get each week to keep kids learning outside at home.

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