Friday, January 20, 2012

Wondering About Color Wonder? Review

My daughter is almost 20 months old.  So, I thought it was time to start some more structured learning times during the day.  As I looked around for learning supplies and activities, I discovered it is VERY difficult to find anything that is appropriate for the under 2 crowd.  So, I started buying things labeled for 3 and up.

Its been about 10 years since I taught preschool, and its been a little difficult for me to get back into the early childhood mindset.  I created about 90% of my lessons back then, because my budget was small.  Believe it or not, it was $100 for the YEAR.  That was $100 total for the whole building!  We had one toddler room, one preschool room, and before and after-school care up to age 12.  The $100 was for crayons, paper, pencils, balls, toys... everything we needed had to come from the $100!  I don't know how I did it!

It just goes to show you that I'm no stranger for pulling lessons and activities out of the air.  But I must admit, I am struggling to find activities that my daughter is willing to do.  (Thank goodness she loves books.)

Wandering around Kmart last week, I spotted the Color Wonder finger paint set.  At $10 for a teeny amount of paint and 12 sheets of paper, I thought "RIP-OFF!"  Plus it said ages 3 and up.  I wondered if I would be wasting my money on a 20 month old.

As you probably guessed, I bought it.  I thought it would sit in the closet for a few months, till I thought she was ready.  I pulled it out this morning, thinking we could make a "Happy Birthday" sign for my husband.  I thought he would feel special that her very first painting was made just for him.

I sat her at the kitchen table, strapped into her booster seat.  I laid out the double wide Color Wonder paper and popped open the orange well on the very cute, plastic Color Wonder hand.  I dipped my finger into the gooey, clear paint.  It looked and felt a little like Vaseline, only goopier and not greasy.  I smeared it smoothly on the paper, saying, "look here, see?"  We both looked.  Nothing.  No orange.  I smeared some more.  It slowly turned orange.  But guess what, she wasn't looking anymore!  When she looked, she clearly didn't understand that I had put that orange there.  It was too much of a delay. 

I then picked up some more paint and smeared it on the paper.  I kept rubbing my finger on the spot until the color appeared.  That seamed to help her get it.  Next, I showed her how to dip her finger into the paint and smear.  She tried to eat it twice.  It must not have tasted very good because she did get a very big blob into her mouth, but it slid right out.  The goopiness of the paint kept it as a solid in her mouth... MAJOR PLUS!

She loved the plastic hand and the lids on the paint.  She spent most of the time trying to open and close them.  She liked it best when she had a big blob to smear.  I'm still not sure she understood that she was coloring the paper.  I think she liked the smearing part.

I went onto Amazon to see what other moms thought of this product, more precisely what moms of older kids thought.  It seems that many kids do not like the texture.  For older kids, it doesn't seem to be enough paint.  The best feature appears to be the mess free clear paint.

Thinking of my preschool classes of the past, I think this is not the right paint for 3 and up.  The lag time from clear to color is too great.  Preschoolers do have some precision to their painting and they need to SEE what they are doing.  The goopy quality would also hinder any preschool age precision.  The paint seemed to work best when my daughter took handfuls and smeared with the palm of her hand.  I recommend that Crayola rethink the age on this and recommend it for 18- 36 months.

In the end, I do recommend it... but don't replace traditional finger paint with it.  This is a nice addition to your art bin.  And tape your paper down!

Find it:

Crayola Color Wonder Paint

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