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Jan 31

#OutdoorsAll4⏤Color Play

by Emily Helfgot

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius." ⏤Pietro Aretino

In many parts of the country, the winter landscape is most often one of muted shades, and a stark absence of vivid color. There is great beauty in that winter palette in and of itself, but when muted colors are contrasted with bright and vivid colors, the result is striking. That one bright red hyacinth peeking out from behind a snow-covered bush. The tree toward the end of the fall season whose leaves have all turned brown with the exception of one branch with brilliant orange leaves. Images like these are compelling because the colors complement (rather than compete with) one another. 

When these complementing colors are introduced into kids play they give the senses a delightful jolt and tune in the brain for learning. They also bring with them the elements of joy and surprise. A surprise is a powerful tool. It not only gives kids a taste for joy, but it can teach them that the world is a delightful place—that they should keep their eyes open for the bits of joy waiting to be found. Happy surprises also create positive emotion in kids, which enhances their ability to learn from and remember an experience.

Mallory Foster - DC620251-7E24-42B4-9...

For this week’s challenge, we are embracing that dynamic color relationship by bringing bold, vivid colors into the muted landscape. For many of us who don’t have naturally occurring brightness around us at this time of year, we can substitute materials like colorful chalk, paint and ribbon. As with any Tinkergarten activity, once in the hands of the kids, these materials can become anything and be used in whatever way inspires them in the moment. 

In ‘Let's Chalk it Out’, kids have the opportunity to transform chalk into various forms for coloring.  


In ‘Squiggle Magic’, colorful ribbon is the companion to the winter backdrop and kids can experiment with how and where the two interact.


This Week’s Featured Leader

Mallory Foster, Fort Lee, VA | @watchwonderbloom


Mallory has always enjoyed teaching and learning, ideally with mud and paint involved!  In her words: “The more I move, the better I rest. The more we move together - dancing, hiking, building things - the more fun and silly our family life is. I love sharing this passion with others because movement is what our bodies are made for and it keeps us healthy. Watching kiddos run and play at Tinkergarten and then settle down and relax or share a snack (with a text later about THE BEST NAP EVER) is really heartwarming. I love knowing I'm helping little ones and their adults start healthy lifetime habits.” As a new mom and a military spouse, she is THRILLED to get outside and help grow a community of playful learners with Tinkergarten!


Emily Helfgot

Director of Learning Content

Emily Helfgot has more than 20 years of experience working in education and children's media as a teacher, content maker and learning lead. Emily's outdoor life in Brooklyn, NY consists of lots of time in playgrounds and urban parks with her husband, Robby, and 4-year-old daughter, Josie. There is much time devoted to collecting, pretend play, and red light/green light. Josie can often be seen in her Radio Flyer wagon, lying on her back, looking up at the sky and singing about it. Emily can often be seen pulling Josie and admiring her songwriting ability.

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