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10 x ways to use colour in your classroom.

COLOUR – is a wonderful, fun, interesting concept to explore with kids – so many options that it can be a little daunting working out where to start………..we have 10 x tips to help you on your way……….time to brighten up your classroom folks!

  • Just go for it – letting kids just play with colour, doing whatever they want is great fun, with varied results. Sometimes beautiful creative artworks will evolve full of lovely colours lines and shapes – and other times a muddy mess. Either way- a perfect way for kids to just experiment with colour and discover what wonderful things will happen when your blend, mix, layer, blotch with colour. This is great to do with smaller groups, and you will need lots of colours ready to work with , and a few different sized brushes (and definitely some art shirts for this one!!)
  • Colour mixing fun – learn the basics of colour theory – talk about Primary Colours (red/ green/ yellow) and the secondary colours- the colours created when you mix each pair of the primary colours (Orange/ Purple/ Green) – doing this process with your class is really fun – they love mixing colours!! It’s relaxing, educational, and you will then have a bunch of colours to paint with. You will need plenty of palettes, paint, and some paper or card ready for creating! Perhaps even have a large scale piece of card ready to paint – perfect for classroom display!
  • Limited palette – we love limiting the colour pallets that kids work with in their projects. They can still do some colour mixing, and can experiment with colour – but it helps with guiding their projects to a more successful outcome. 
  • Go monochrome – learning about TINTS ( adding a little WHITE) and SHADES ( adding a little BLACK) to a colour is another awesome colour mixing process. If each child has a little palette with only one colour ( a primary or secondary colour), and a little bit of white, and a little bit of black – have kids work at firstly painting on paper/ card with just their colour – now mix a little white into it – add more detail to the painting, and then try a little black to mix in. You don’t need to worry about washing out brushes – just use the one brush only. Create a face, a monster, a landscape, an animal, a pattern……… a perfect way to learn all about TONAL VALUES with older children.
  • The power of black- never underestimate the power of black in a composition. Save it for the end of a project, and just use a little, or go a bit crazy with it – but don’t ever shy away from it. (White is pretty awesome too!!)
  • Sticking to only black and white – try doing a project working only with white and black – whether it is with paint, drawing, or collage, or a bit of a mixture. NOT using any colour can be equally as fun and as rewarding as using loads of it. And often with fantastic results.
  • Highlight with just one colour – use just very small amounts of colour to accent or highlight a project – sometimes LESS is MORE.  This is especially true when working with flouro colours – a perfect way to create some fun highlights.
  • Warms and Cools – we love working with warms ( red/yellow/ orange/ brown/ pink) and cools (blue/ green/ purple/ grey/ white) – a nice way for kids to explore the effects of colours on our feelings and mood. Also a great way to look at nature – landscapes, weather, ocean, rainforest, deserts, and these colours also work great in more abstract designs – looking at collage especially.
  • Layering colour – you can create some awesome effects by layering colours together in any number of ways – either with watercolours, acrylics, chalk, collage, printing. We are HUGE fans of layering colour – it is an important part of creating an interesting, and ‘complete’ composition which has a range of interesting aspects to it .
  • Complimentary colours – are colours that are OPPOSITE each other on the colour wheel, and when put together in a composition they achieve MAXIMUM brightness. Purple/Yellow, Green/Red, Orange/Blue – are our 3 x complimentary colour sets. Have a play with these colours – even just with felt pens – work with line/ shape/ pattern, and see just how colourful your projects will look.

Perhaps you can also look at some artist work who also really love colour – like JApanese artist Yayoi Kusama, or Australian Icon Ken Done, or go geometric with Bridget Riley.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for your next classroom project.

Happy creating!

Tracy x

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