Page 4 Activity Notes
Here are ways to identify and compare skin tones with children:
Gather a wide range of skin-colored paint swatches from your local
paint or hardware store. Ask the children to look at them and to choose
the one that most closely matches their skin color.
Mix paint with the children using brown, black, white, and red paint or
powdered tempera. Talk about how no one is black, white, or red, but
that those colors help make shades of brown. Mix and experiment until
you reach a shade that each child believes most closely matches his or
her own skin color. This activity helps demonstrate that we are all
shades of brown.
30 Ask the children to come up with different names for the color of their
skin. Because our vocabulary is limited in naming shades of skin color, en-
courage creative thinking. Here’s a list of some creative words that could
describe a variety of skin colors. (Hint: the names on the paint swatches
can be a helpful starting point.)
tortilla smooth peanut butter
seashell root beer
vanilla ice cream
amber peachy salmon
This activity gives children the power to describe who they are in the world
as well as the knowledge that they have their own special color.
Page 5 Activity Note
This activity incorporates science (predicting, guessing) and language
(recording children’s comments encourages language development). Ask
the children how they think skin color is determined and write down all
their guesses and ideas on a large sheet of paper as they vocalize them.
Here’s an example of what your list could look like.
Where Do We Get Our Skin Color?
Anna: my mom
Pierre: my birth mom
Abdullahi: my mom and dad
Page 11 Activity Note
Have the children try to sequence their skin color ranging from dark-
est (melanin most busy) to lightest (melanin not busy). They can do this
either by using paint swatches or by actually lining up their own bodies.
Place a poster on one end of the space titled “Not Busy Melanin” and at
the other end of the space titled “Very Busy Melanin.” Ask the children,
“Who do you think has the busiest melanin in our class?” “Who is the
most protected from the sun?”
This activity helps reframe everyone’s thinking and reinforces the fact
that we have different colors of skin to protect us from the sun.
Melanin Dark skin: very busy < > Light skin: not busy