I recently helped at a school library by reading to preschoolers. The chosen book, “My Many Colored Days” by Dr. Seuss, was one I had never read before. Filled with bright colors, engaging pictures, and text rich with visual imagery that engaged ALL the students! We laughed with the kicking, prancing red pony and giggled at the moody, purple dinosaur dragging its tail all the way up the hill. This was a special time to explore color, mood, and emotion with young children.
After the story, we noticed all the colors we were wearing that day. Did they match how we felt? Was I feeling low, down brown? Did the child in a pink tutu feel silly- willy? Did the children with orange shirts feel like circus performers? How about the teachers wearing blue? Did they feel like fish swimming in cool water? We had a delightful time discovering how we felt that morning.
There are many books introducing color to preschool children. This is a unique book that truly captures the blending of color with feelings. Children can continue this exploration with paint, coloring with crayons or chalk, and nature walks. Set out different mediums, pull out the scrap box, and watch them create. I use “Therapy Arts” as an intervention tool to encourage improvement in fine motor control, visual-spatial deficits, and eye-hand coordination. My students often have a difficult time identifying their feelings. Asking the question, “How does this color make you feel?” is one step closer to asking children the question, “How do YOU feel?” and giving them a tool to begin that dialogue.
Artists, teachers, and therapists working with both children and adults, can all benefit from tucking this book into their activity or portfolio bag. I know I will!