I’ve made several color games for Smiley Man now and they have been awesome, but I really wanted to make something for him that was a little more self-directed. I wanted to have something he could play with even if I wasn’t sitting right there showing him what to do. I remembered this awesome easy craft clay that I made with Little Bear several months ago, and I knew just what to do to adapt it to a toddler color game.
First I made some of this easy craft clay. When you are done making it, the bottom of your pan will be coated in clay stuff and you will be worried that it will never come out. It will come out, I promise. ;)
Once the clay was finished, we rolled out a few thin “snakes” and put them on top of this rainbow template to make sure they had the right size and shape. You have to be careful with the size of your snakes. You want them big enough that they will be able to hold up to toddler use, but you want them thin enough that they don’t take forever to dry. If they are too thick it will take them a week or more to dry completely. I know this from experience. :(
Once the clay has dried completely (it will still take a day or two) get out some paint and have your toddler help paint the pieces the correct colors of the rainbow. We used watercolor paint and they worked beautifully. Be sure to talk about the different colors and explain that the colors always go in that order. You can also look up images of rainbows on the internet and show your toddler that rainbows always have the same colors in the same order. If you are lucky, you will have a real rainbow you can show your toddler.
After all the painting is done, let the paint dry completely. This will probably take another day or so. Once the paint is all dry, you can take the pieces off of the template and they are now a rainbow puzzle. I have done this twice and the first time the pieces dried beautifully with no cracks. As you can see, there were lots of cracks this time, but it’s a puzzle, right? The cracks just make it more puzzle-like. I printed another copy of the rainbow template onto cardstock and I painted it the colors of the rainbow, then I laminated it. I have Smiley Man put the pieces onto the rainbow template.
Smiley Man really likes this rainbow puzzle. They have held up pretty well to his use, but I do have to watch and make sure the pieces don’t go into his mouth. :)