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The World’s Natural Colours: Shades of Yellow

Exploring the colours of the environment is a brilliant way for children to broaden their minds, develop observational skills, and learn about different locations, seasons, and cultures.

Our Colours in Nature blog posts encourage you to go outside with your kids, find colours together, and build fun activities around your discoveries. Develop your kids’ palette, one colour at a time.  A new natural colour is explored in each of the four different blog posts, so make sure you have a look at them all. In this blog post, we will explore all the different shades of yellow.

Where to find things that are yellow

Natural shades of yellow appear in all sorts of places, from our foods to our landscape. Depending on the time of year and the location, you’ll find your own unique yellows. Here are a few places to start looking out for it:

Yellow things at the market

Some of the richest, deepest yellows are found in food that uses spices, nature’s natural food dye. Encourage your kids to look at these spices in their raw state. Have a look around local markets or shops for the burnt yellow of turmeric or the browny-yellow of mustard seeds. You could bring spices into your arts and crafts. To make some fantastically fragrant spicy yellow watercolour paint, just mix a bit of your chosen spice into some water. Ask your child to experiment with creating different shades of yellow – the less water they use, the stronger the colour.

Different shades of yellow in the landscape

There are many different yellows to be found in the environment around you. If you have fields near you, they are a brilliant place to walk and do a bit of yellow-spotting. Look out for the dry, sandy gold sort of yellow of wheat fields, which look particularly bright when the sun shines. Try spotting the different shades of yellow found in dry grasses, they range from a very pale almost translucent yellow through to a rich brown-yellow. Walks in the wheat fields or amongst the grass will often mean bringing home stains as well as fun memories. If your kids get grass or pollen (also yellow!) on their clothes, rinse them as soon as you get home and wash with Surf excel.

Shades of yellow in a cup of tea

Tea, whether herbal, fruity or black, often has a yellowy hue, and depending on the leaf it’s made with, the yellow will be slightly different. Try making some different types of tea, and talking about the various shades of yellow. Can your kids see that the colours become richer the longer the tea is brewed? Camomile tea is a good one, as it comes from a yellow plant, so the yellow is very clear. But Jasmine tea has a greener tint with a yellow-base. A particularly nice one to experience is the warm caramel tone of a strong cup of tea sipped on a cold winter morning. Of course, kids should be supervised when making tea if they are using hot water.

Colours of flowers in the garden or park

One of the best activities to find different shades of yellow is to go on a flower hunt to find an array of yellow petals. Whether you’re in the park or your own garden, give your kids a mission to find lots of different types of yellow and to describe their differences. Bright yellow chrysanthemums can be found in public parks all over Vietnam in spring, for example, and the sunshiny yellow of buttercup petals is waiting to be discovered in the UK.

Ask your children to talk about their discoveries so they can compare and describe the different colours of flowers and think about how or why the shades of yellow vary. They don’t have to be right, it just gets them using their imagination and questioning why things work a certain way.  Try to give examples to get them started, such as ‘could flowers be bright yellow because they need to attract bees?’ or ‘do you think some dry grasses are yellow because they get too much sun and are thirsty?’ You’ll soon see that they come up with fun and imaginative stories all on their own.

Record your shades of yellow

When exploring a particular colour, be sure to record all the different discoveries. Your kids could keep a scrapbook for yellow things – somewhere to keep yellow petals they’ve picked or pictures they’ve made from yellow spice paints. They could even write down their own descriptions of each type of yellow, and note down where and when they found it. Let us know how your kids get on in their exploration of different shades of yellow, and share any particular shades that you’ve found. Every country offers its own unique yellows to discover – so share yours in the comments section below.