Paint Your Winter Sky!

We often rush about and miss the amazing, colorful backdrop nature provides us in the sky—particularly in the winter season. This week at Tinkergarten Anywhere, we’ll invite kids to slow down and behold the winter sky. Then, we welcome kids to use colorful, frozen “pops” and a plain bedsheet or cloth to create their very own beautiful winter sky and sunset.

The Guide

Step 1: Make frozen paints.

Follow these steps to make frozen “pops” kids can use to paint their very own winter sky. Note: These will need at least 24 hours to freeze before ready to use in play. 
  1. Gather your food coloring, short sticks (4-5 inches) and either a muffin tin or ice cube tray. Note: You can also use watercolor or tempera paint to color your frozen “pops”.
  2. Put several drops of color, then water, into each compartment. Mix well. 
  3. Put tin foil over the top of the ice tray or muffin tin.
  4. Poke a small stick through the foil and into each compartment. This will freeze to form a stick.
  5. Place in the freezer (or outside if temps are below freezing) for about 24 hours.
  6. Take them out of the freezer or bring them indoors from the freezing cold, give them a minute to warm up, then pop them out into a bag or bowl that you can bring outside. 

Step 2: Watch the Sky Colors video lesson.

Hop into your My Tinkergarten dashboard to watch the Sky Colors video lesson. Kids can watch how Meghan and other explorers explore their winter sky, then get inspired to create their own!

Step 3: Look at your winter sky.

Lay down wherever you are and behold the winter sky together. Invite kids to share what they see. Share your own observations, too. If you could, how would you paint the winter sky? What colors would you use?

Step 4: Paint the winter sky.

Wonder, “How could we paint our very own winter sky?” Pull out your sheet and explore it for a while. Feel it. Hold it and wave it up and down. 

Then, pull out your frozen color pops and wonder, “Could these help us turn this sheet into our own winter sky?”

Welcome kids to try out different approaches to transfer color from the frozen “pops” to the sheet. Some ideas:

  • Dip the “pops” in warm water
  • Sprinkle salt on the frozen “pops” and/or on the bed sheet.
  • Use your feet to crush frozen paint into the sheet sky.
  • Use sticks, rocks or any other objects around you to help add color to your sheet “sky.”
  • Any other, creative ways kids invent to get colors onto the sheet.

Step 5: Behold and celebrate your very own winter sky.

When you’re ready, shake off any extra frozen pop bits and hold up your sky. If there are enough adults, hold the sky over the kiddos. 

Make it a point to behold the colors in the winter sky for days and years to come!

Why is this activity great for kids?

Taking time to slow down and notice the sky not only connects us to the natural world, it exposes the world's immense beauty and sparks joy. As kids take on the challenge of painting with colored ice, they’ll try out a range of approaches to solve a problem and practice thinking and acting flexibly—both super problem solving skills! Exploring melting and freezing also gives kids a tangible way to observe water in its solid and liquid states and to experience how temperature interacts with the states of matter. This kind of open-ended chance to transform ice and cloth into a sky also supports kids in using multiple senses, thinking creatively, collaborating, and persisting through challenges—all skills kids need to thrive!

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