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An Exploration of Different Shades of Red and Pink in Nature

Exploring the colours around them is a brilliant way for children to develop their powers of observation, and explore their little world in detail.

The Colours in Nature blog series celebrates the role of colour in learning. Each blog post focuses on a chosen colour and all its wonderful shades to be found through playing and exploring. We hope you will go outside with your kids, find colours together and build fun activities around your discoveries.

Try these kids’ activities so you and your child can explore all the different shades of pink and red together.

Where to find red and pink things in nature

Red and pink things appear in all sorts of places, from the landscape to the cityscape. Depending on the time of year and the location, you’ll find your own unique reds and pinks. Here are a few places to start looking out for them:

Shades of red on creatures and insects

Many interesting creatures have red colouring, from spiders to crabs and frogs. What red creature can your kids find? How about trying to spot the deep dark red of the seven-spot ladybird? Watch out – there are an incredible 3,500 species of ladybird in the world! Get kids to notice not only the differences in the number of spots, but the particular shade of red and whether it’s got an orange or brown tint. Exploring in the garden and in parks looking for ladybirds and other creatures with red markings is a great activity in itself. Make sure your kids take a sketch book or camera with them so they can capture and compare the different shades of red and patterns they spot on animals and insects.

Red things in the city

Different shades of red can be spotted in urban environments too and used in many cultures as the definitive colour of festivity. What festivals or cultural events do your kids associate with the colour red? Ask them to describe where they’ve spotted the colour, how it makes them feel and why. In Vietnam, red is associated with luck and prosperity, and it can be spotted during the run-up to the Harvest Festival known as T_t Trung Thu, usually in September, when the streets are decorated with lovely red lanterns.

Different shades of pink and red in fruits and berries

Strawberries, raspberries and the inside of a grapefruit… these are all fantastic shades of pink and red to be seen – and tasted! Fruit markets or out in the country are great places to spot a range of reds. Depending where you are, there will be particular reds for kids to discover. Here’s a cherry-inspired activity for kids to try at home: paint a picture of a cherry tree using finger printing. Draw the shape of a tree with branches on a piece of paper, then mix a shade of red paint (try to match the colour with a cherry you’ve found), and print lots of round cherries onto the branches using the pad of your thumb or forefinger. Then use green paint to add some leaves. Encourage kids to notice the contrast between red and green – these are complementary colours, which means they become brighter when placed next to each other.

On a flower hunt

There are lots of colourful flowers around the world in different shades of pink and red: roses, poppies and lotus flowers, for starters. But the fun part of a red flower hunt will be discovering the shades of flowers unique to where you live. Flowers are a great inspiration for kids’ activities. You and your child could create a scrapbook of pressed flowers together, using a selection of red and pink petals brought back from exploring outside. Press flowers by:

  • Letting them dry a bit first
  • Arranging them on a piece of paper, remember to label each petal and the season you found it.
  • Place another piece (a blotter) on top
  • Finally stack some heavy books on top. It will take a few weeks for them to dry completely – change your blotter paper every few days

Pollen from flowers could easily make its way onto kids’ clothes while they’re picking petals or pressing them. Don’t worry – a normal wash using Surf excel should usually remove any marks. Just check the care label on the stained garment before cleaning the stain.

Record your red and pink things

Be sure to record all the different discoveries through exploring reds and pinks. Your kids could keep a scrapbook – somewhere to keep their cherry tree painting, pressed red flowers and photographs of the animals and insects they found. What shades of red and pink have you seen today? Let us know in the comments section below.