Watercolor Exploration

We set up the light table with coffee filters and different watercolors each day over the course of four days. This project enticed the children to play with the watercolors and see the color through the light as they painted. The color had a variety of different hues and gave the children a chance to see the broad-spectrum one color can have.


For this provocation we utilized colored watercolors, coffee filters and paint brushes. The children loved seeing the paint go through the coffee filters! Some children would even splatter the paint with the paintbrushes. Others dumped the container of watercolor onto their coffee filter. A few children would “ring out” their coffee filter once they soaked them completely. One toddler painted his/her own hand and fingernails instead of the filter.





This experience proved to be very interactive for the toddlers. They strengthened their fine motor skills by working with their hands –gripping the paintbrushes and “ringing out” the coffee filters to paint. This particular provocation addressed an abstract concept that colors have shades while applying it in a creative and educational context. It not only sparked the students’ interest but triggered their fine motor skills and social skills.

There was an unexpected benefit of this watercolor exploration and that was sharing. The children would share their watercolor paint as soon as they saw another child finish their watercolor experience. This sharing was self-motivated as we didn’t suggest to them do so. Some children don’t learn how to share until they are 4 or 6 years old! Sharing requires the ability to negotiate, cooperate, and work together with others. These skills are crucial in learning, professional and social environments at any age. The fact that OUR children were sharing on their own shows how developed their social skills are already.


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“The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.”

-Leonard Nimoy

Reference & Additional Reading:

Play Promotes Social Skills

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