Explore Together (outdoors): Many Shades of Brown

  • clipboards
  • crayons
  • markers
  • paper
  • brown
  • color
  • compare
  • nature
  • shade

Head Start Outcomes:

Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Uses senses and tools, including technology, to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Observes and discusses common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Participates in simple investigations to form hypotheses, gather observations, draw conclusions, and form generalizations.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Collects, describes, and records information through discussions, drawings, maps, and charts.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Describes and discusses predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experience.
Science Knowledge/Conceptual Knowledge of Natural and Physical Worlds: Observes, describes, and discusses living things and natural processes.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Language 2: Participate actively in discussions, listen to the ideas of others, and ask and answer relevant questions.
Science and Technology/Inquiry Skills 4: Record observations and share ideas through simple forms of representation such as drawings.

EEC Infant and Toddler Guidelines:

PW50: The older toddler engages in a variety of physical activities.

Explore Together (outdoors): Many Shades of Brown

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care. All rights reserved.

STEM Key Concepts: There are many different colors; A single color can have different shades (from very light to very dark)

ELA Focus Skills: Color Recognition, Vocabulary, Listening and Speaking, Follow Directions

Safety Tips:

  • Be aware of and check areas for poison ivy, poison sumac, nettles, and bushes with thorns before taking children outside.
  • Remind children to wash their hands before and after the activity.
  • Children's allergies need to be taken into account before going outside.
  • Remind children not to eat any plants or touch any plants without asking and adult.

Tell children they will go outside to explore things in nature that are brown. Ask, Do you know what nature is? Discuss that nature is the world outdoors and it includes plants, animals, lakes, etc.

Assign groups of three or four children to a group before going outside. Allow children to freely explore outdoors in their small groups. If possible, make a video of their explorations.

Provide clipboards, paper, and crayons for children to make drawings of the things they observe. Encourage groups to look closely at leaves, tree trunks, and needles, etc. and engage them when you notice something sparks their interest. Ask questions such as,

  • What do you notice about the color of the bark on the tree, is it all the same color? Is it all one shade of color? Can you describe it?
  • How would you describe the color of the needles compared to the color of the pinecone? Encourage the use of key color terms and descriptive terms. 
  • What other colors do you see in that pinecone?

Reflect and Share Together

Display the children’s drawings and have each group share their observations. Point out how the colors and details in their work reflect their careful observation of the trees. Encourage children to talk about how drawing what they observed helps them to be aware of the colors, shapes, and details of things in nature. Ask questions such as,

  • What new things did you learn about the colors of the tree by drawing it?
  • What did you notice about the color of the trunk when you looked at it closely and began drawing it? 
  • Did you see things in nature that have more than one shade of brown on them?

If you recorded children’s observations, review the video. Discuss children’s observations and acknowledge their cooperative behavior.

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