What Can You Do With A Big Orange Splot?

An important part of learning to be resilient is learning to adjust when kids hit challenging situations. How? Through games/activities in which the rules and expectations shift unexpectedly. This week at Tinkergarten, we invite kids to imagine how they could turn a mistake into something beautiful.

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The Guide

Step 1: Watch the Tinkergarten Anywhere "Marvelous Mistakes" video lesson.

Hop into your Tinkergarten dashboard to watch the "Marvelous Mistakes" video lesson. Kids can watch how Meghan and other explorers adjust to the unexpected, then get inspired to turn a mistake into their own masterpiece!

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Step 2: Get inspiration from a book!

For even more inspiration, watch the read-aloud of Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. Two of our other favorite stories about adjusting to the unexpected are What If... by Samantha Berger and The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater.  After reading, invite kids to remember a time when something didn't go according to plan and how they felt and responded to that challenge.

Step 3: Introduce the challenge.

Use markers or paint to make a splotch on a piece of paper or fabric. Or, print out the downloadable Big Orange Splot sheets (inspired by the book by Daniel Manus Pinkwater) and look at the different shapes together. Wonder, what could we turn this splotch into? Does this shape remind you of anything? Discuss ideas together.

Step 4: Offer art materials and create!

Offer markers, crayons, paint, stickers or any materials you have on hand and invite kids to start creating. As they add to the sheet, notice aloud how they are incorporating the splotch into their design and celebrate their creativity, flexibility and problem solving skills!

Extend play!

If kids enjoyed the challenge of turning a splotch into something wonderful, try out some of these ways to nurture resilience and adaptability through play:
  • Create your own nature paints: How can we create colorful art without paint? Fortunately, nature is full of color and with a few simple tools, kids can transform an ordinary sheet into a vibrant display of Nature’s Tie-Dye!  Read more about this activity here.
  • What If…?.What could we create  if all of our art materials disappeared? Head outside and discover what you can create using only the materials you can find in your outdoor space. Draw in the dirt with a stick, create a nature display, turn nature treasures into paint brushes and stamps, make mud prints, paint with water, and make shadow designs. Visit our What If… DIY for more!
  • Yes! And...: Try some art improvisation together by making a splotch or mark on a piece of paper. Then, invite your child to add to it and turn it into something new. Repeat! Watch this fun video for grown-ups for more on how to use the "Yes, and..." golden rule of improv theater to keep the play going and keep kids in the lead.

Why is this activity great for kids?

When we model playful and joyful ways to adjust to challenges and respond to the unexpected, we help kids build resilience and flexibility, skills they will need to thrive no matter what life brings. As kids take on the challenge of turning a mistake into something wonderful, they practice creativity and important problem-solving mindsets

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