The color of birds and painting with color cubes

“Birds” by Kevin Henkes is a beautifully illustrated book about birds that inspired a little colorful painting in our classroom…

This book does a wonderful job presenting simple concepts as you take a picture walk through the many sizes, types, and colors of birds…

At one point, the book takes a look at what the sky might look like should we just see the color of birds flying through the air. As we looked over this page, the children tried to guess which bird might leave behind each color. We also used this page of the book as our source of inspiration for the paintings at our art table…

At the art table, the children found paint, brushes, paper, and painting cubes. Painting cubes are simple homemade dice with a different color spot on each side of the square…

I set out the book and invited the children to roll the cube and then use that color of paint to add color to their paper…

The children could adapt this idea any way they wished. Some of the children would keep rolling the cube until they had a chance to use each color. Others would roll the cube and use that color of paint regardless is they had used it before…

Each child had their own cube but we shared the paint colors. Sharing paint colors invites cooperation and communication. The children would say, “Who has the red paint?” and “Can I please have the blue paint after you?” I often like to do activities where the children need to work with each other to complete their individual goals…

The color cubes also invited an unusual painting experience. The children had to look for each color before they used it and then decide how they wanted to use the color on their paper…

Because we were using the page from the “Bird” book as our source of inspiration, the children created colorful designs on their paper.  However, it would be interesting to see what the children might have chose to paint had we not tied the color cube painting to this page of the book…

If you would like a free downloadable copy of the color cube, you can find it by heading over to Preschool Spot….

Available on Amazon


Links to Grow On

A Sunny Day Drawing Cube from Teach Preschool

By |2012-07-02T09:32:53+00:00July 2nd, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Trisha Cooper July 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Your ideas are always so inspiring. I love this and will probably use it in a color unit this next year. It’s nice to change things up from year to year. What I think is funny, is that every time you post a literacy based activity, the book is almost always checked out at the library with several holds in front of me! I think you’re inspiring LOTS of people in my little town:)

  2. Mud Hut Mama July 3, 2012 at 5:22 am - Reply

    I have that book on our wish list – it was great to see it here and especially with such a fun activity to go along with it!

  3. Gina July 3, 2012 at 7:30 am - Reply

    We have this book and I love the illustrations! I thought about trying a similar sort of activity with my little guy. Their paintings turned out beautiful!

  4. Lori July 3, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I love this book and what a great activity to go with it!

  5. Scott July 3, 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Deborah, I love the different cube ideas you have posted. I’m thinking a color cube could be useful for all kinds of things in addition to the idea here. Thanks for the inspiration.

    (I thought I posted this yesterday. But I guess I made a comment elsewhere. All this social media gets me a little confused sometimes!)

  6. Barb July 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    I need a template for the cube is anyone has one….Thanks

  7. Nadine August 15, 2012 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Loved this concept but used it with 2 dice for our 4/5 year olds, a colour dice and then a line/pattern dice with zig zag, cross etc… for fine motor skills and pre writing .

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