Purple Week!

It’s purple week on the Sugar, Spice and Glitter blog, and Ella couldn’t be more excited! I always find it fascinating when children begin establishing their own preferences, and Ella is very clear that her favourite colours are purple and pink. I find this (as well as her interest in princesses) notable, especially since I have really emphasized avoiding “stereotypically girlish” toys or clothing that are exclusively pink and purple, and have never suggested that something is inherently gendered based on its colour… yet, my little girl is really drawn to things which are marketed as “girly.” (And we opt out of most TV, don’t have cable, and our circle of friends is largely similar in that respect.) Does anyone else notice this with their children?
Rather than purple clothes, we focused on wearing clothes that I was okay getting completely messy, and stuck to a purple bracelet for most of the week.
I purchased some beautiful purple art from Gunnel Harlin from the Swedish American Museum in Chicago, and temporarily relocated it above Ella’s art table, though we did much of our week’s art projects outdoors. Art appreciation.


Above, we started by mixing colours on a transparent sheet, enjoying the effect of the paint separating on the unique medium. This helped us to really see how the red and blue mixed, as the drops separated and blended in a more obvious way than flat painting would have allowed. Colour mixing, colour recognition, vocabulary enrichment.

We did another Emilia Reggio-inspired provocation this week, with purple feathers, popsicle sticks, pompoms, sand, and silicone egg poaching cups (completely useless in their original purpose). Sensory.

I set up the provocation and allowed Ella to explore the different sensations and building opportunities for awhile, before introducing a new element: the light table.

Ella started out with the popsicle sticks, making shapes and patterns; this inspired me to create an upcoming extension, but I love how open-ended materials can result in educational opportunities and explorations beyond what we could have planned or foreseen. Shape recognition, fine motor control.

Once I felt her interest waning in just the popsicle sticks, I encouraged her to move all of the materials onto the light table, which really allowed her to explore patterning, as well as understand transparent, opaque, and solid. We also used the sand to trace letters, in a variation of the traditional Montessori work of the sand tray. Science, letter formation, sensory, fine motor control. 

Later, I pulled out contact paper and allowed Ella to transfer and pour the sand (as well as some pink sand that I had not adequately hidden) onto the contact paper for some (controlled) messy art. The different sensations between the grainy, rough sand and the sticky contact paper fascinated her, as did the effects created by swirling the colours and spreading the sand into a single layer. The control of error occurs both in looking for “hills” of sand and when the contact paper is lifted — if the sand was spread to a single layer, very little will fall off. Colour recognition, sensory, art.

As a special treat, Ella and I brought one of our favourite people to a local lavender farm. On the way, Ella and I sang what I could remember of “Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly).”

Steed & Co Lavender had some purple Muskoka chairs set up around the fields, and let us stay after closing to allow Ella to finish her flower drawings.


They also had a shop full of lavender goodies, including lavender ice cream sandwiches and lavender honey. We purchased a large bouquet of dried lavender, some of which we put in a vase for Ella’s nature table and some of which we used to make lavender shortbread cookies, as well as some lavender bug repellent but we haven’t yet had a chance to test that out.

In addition to lavender shortbread cookies, we ate red grapes, purple carrots, plums, eggplant parmesan sandwiches, purple french fries (made with purple potatoes), purple popcorn, purple kamata olives in our pasta puttanesca, and Ella’s Nana made us some red cabbage sauerkraut which turns purple with cooking! We also saw purple cauliflower and red bananas (which look purple) at the grocery store, but we had more than enough with what we had. We also drank David’s Bear Trap (iced) tea, which has been re-released as a kid’s tea (stickers!).

We of course had a purple bath, created by mixing a pitcher of blue water with a pitcher of red water. This week we just used food colouring, which turned out fine but very diluted.

I should be embarrassed about this, but we listened to Prince ALL WEEK, and introduced our sound eggs (tutorial coming soon!). We read Harold and the Purple Crayon and Robert Munsch’s Purple, Green, and Yellow. NOTE: I should make a post about how to pick developmentally appropriate books for your children, and will soon — but for now, I will quickly suggest that parents avoid introducing books to toddlers which describe any type of behaviour that you would like to avoid, unless that behaviour is already present. Ella already draws on herself (a habit instilled in her my her gymnastics class), so this was able to be read as a “warning” tale, but for many toddlers who do not already draw on themselves, this book could actually result in creating that behaviour.

What are you looking forward to for purple week?

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