Racing cars through silky smooth shaving cream and paint is the perfect way to soothe grumpy kids, plus it teaches them the basics of color sorting and color mixing. Don’t worry about the big clean up afterwards, your kids will be so happy after this activity, they’ll be eager to help tidy up.
This activity is great if you are learning about transportation, colors, or just enjoying exploring different ways to move.
Transportation Color Sorting and Color Mixing
Providing activities for sorting and mixing colors can help children develop both math and science concepts. They can begin to group objects according to specific characteristics and begin to understand that sets of items (cars) can be grouped into smaller sets (red cars, blue cars).
In this activity, they can explore color and begin to learn that colors can be mixed to create new colors. They can use their senses to gather information about materials and develop vocabulary to describe what they observe. They can explore cause and effect – doing something and making something else happen. They can think about what happens when they do something or change what they are doing to something else. All of these concepts are solid science foundations that provide structure for further learning.
Setting Up the Transportation Activity
- Large tray
- White shaving cream/foam
- Red, yellow, and blue paint
- Red, yellow, and blue cars
- Bowl of warm water
- Towels on standby
I asked my kids to gather together all of our red, yellow, and blue cars, while I gathered the other materials.
I squirted the shaving cream into three large mounds around the tray and took out the red, yellow, and blue paints.
To help minimize the mess, I prepared a bowl of warm water to keep within easy reach, along with some towels. I find it much more effective to bring the towels and water to them, rather than getting them to move to a sink, when they are messy.
The kids quickly returned with their haul of cars and after getting them to drizzle the three paint colors over the three mounds of shaving cream, we were nearly ready to start. (They were a little overzealous with the blue which caused a few issues later on in the activity.)
Color Sorting the Cars
I added the cars to the tray as I explained the activity to the children.
The aim of the first part was to sort the cars into color sets, by matching each car to the same colored paint in the shaving foam. We would then move on to explore what happens when the different colors are mixed together.
My kids needed little encouragement in getting started. Before long we had a big pile up of red, blue, and yellow cars.
For the next part of the activity, I had planned to work through mixing together some of the yellow and some of the blue mounds. Then they repeat this with some of the red and some of blue, to see what new colors they could make.
BUT my kids had other ideas, as usual. They didn’t have time to wait for my instructions, they just wanted to race the cars around the tray in the shaving cream.
We did see a few glimmers of orange made from the red and yellow and a few splashes of purple made from the blue and red, but we mainly had a large tray full of dark blue. When the kids had been drizzling the paint over the shaving foam, they had put in far too much blue paint.
The kids had a brilliant time playing together and were so happy by the end of the activity, it didn’t really matter that things hadn’t gone exactly as planned. It is much more beneficial to allow your children to explore the materials freely, than for them to follow a planned activity.
As your children are racing cars through the colored foam, encourage them to talk about what they observe. They may talk about the colors or the mixing. They may describe the feeling of the foam. They may talk about shapes they see or what fun it is to drive the cars through the foam. Encourage their play. Then clean up – and talk about that, too!
BIO: Nicola’s blog Crafty Kids at Home shares the arts and crafts ideas she does at home with her kids. They are big fans of using Bubble Wrap in their activities and have just completed the A-Z of Indoor Activities. You can find her on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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