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The Die Says the Color, the Picture Says We Can

The Die Says the Color, the Picture Says We Can
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A wonderful cooperative art experience for younger students using a die or set of dice.

By Raquel C Cuperman [Raquel is a teacher librarian in Bogota, Colombia]

What You Need:

For this activity you need: Any book with a main character that has many colors. Interesting options are: Elmer (David McKee), The Quilt (Ann Jonas) or The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle).

You could also use images by Mondrian, Omar Rayo or any similar one; even a nicely colored patchwork quilt design. Basically, you need to be able to have a black and white printout of the character or art piece with many geometric empty spaces to color in.

  • A printout for each student (see resources section below for links to images)
  • Colored pencils
  • One die for each group (not a number die, but one with six different dot colors)

If you cannot find the die commercially, just glue on each side six different colored circles; leave one side white.

Make sure that the colored pencils match the colors of the die.

What You Do:

Even though cooperative working seems natural for kindergarten students, for some of them it is complicated and causes tantrums and conflicts.

In this activity, the children enjoy working cooperatively, set common goals and strive to reach them, understand that each one manages time and effort in a different way and recognize that there can be many responses to the same input.

With the entire group, read the book or show the art piece.

Talk about the story, the painter, and the colors.

Discuss with the children the different colors, urge them to find a pattern (if there is one) or simply to count the number of different colors and the times they appear.

You can make colored copies of the full colored images and hand them out by groups so the children can appreciate the illustration or art piece better.

The next period, organize the children into cooperative groups (four or five per group is ideal).

Each group should have colors, a die and one worksheet per student.

Tell the children they are going to color in the handout, but the colors depend on the die’s color. They have to take turns throwing the die and the color that appears is the color the whole group will use.

Tell them they must all follow these rules:

  • They must take turns to throw the die, moving clockwise or counter clockwise. They decide which way each group moves.
  • They must all color every roll of the die.
  • If they roll a white, they must leave an empty space.
  • They must wait until every group member is ready to go ahead.
  • They need to share colors and make sure they all have colored with the indicated one.
  • Each picture must be different, so looking at the neighbor to see where he/she colors is out of bounds.

Color until time is up or until they finish the whole image.

At the end of the activity, generate a group discussion on the experience.

Make emphasis on time, effort and tolerance and on final product.

Cooperative Art Game


Behavioral Studies:
Standard 1 – Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior
Standard 4 – Understands conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions

Language Arts:
Standard 8 – Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

Life Skills / Working with others:
Standard 3 – Works well with diverse individuals and in diverse situations
Standard 4 – Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.

Picture Resources

Recommended Books:

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