How does your child see him/herself?
I was thrilled when our butcher paper finally came because I'd been wanting to do life size portraits with the kids for a while now. I remember doing this project as a kid and it was so empowering to see how big I was when I took a step back from the paper. In an early 2020 overseas visit to my family, my aunt had life size portraits of her grandchildren hanging in her room. I loved how each child decorated their own portrait differently, with no influence from an adult. I thought it would be sweet if we could do the same project, uniting these cousins who have never met each other, across the world.
Materials for Life Size Portraits:
Butcher paper, marker, any coloring supplies and my favorite: People Colors from Lakeshore Learning.
Snag your own "People Colors" set from Lakeshore here.
How to make a life size portrait:
Have your child lie flat down on the butcher paper while you trace them
Offer different supplies to add in details: markers, stickers, paint, People Colors!
Watch their creativity ignite.
Tell me more about what you are doing?
How is the you in the picture feeling?
Where is the you in the picture going?
Talking about the beauty of diversity and all skin colors:
I remember my aunt bringing me a set of "People Colors" when I was about 5 or 6. I remember the joy in seeing all the shades of peach and brown. It was so exciting to receive these new crayons, and I remember holding onto them for years always putting them back in their case just so. It was the first time anyone had talked to me about the diverse and beautify colors of our skin. I
Now my girls have their own set and as we looked through the crayons, I read out the names of all the colors: coral, sable, chestnut, maize, peach, ebony, mocha, melon. We talked about how all the colors of skin are beautiful and important. We also discussed that "Black" and "White" are supposed to be opposites, but people really come in all shades of the same color. When we stop feeling like we are opposite, then we can focus on what we have in common.
The kids and I discussed different skin colors and then discussed the similarities between people. We all have hearts; we all feel joy and sadness; we all like to be a part of a community, to feel like we belong.
These people color crayons are a call to celebrate every human color and a wonderful way to address race and skin color with our children. When we bring up the subject of race with kids from an early age, we can teach respect, love, and unity before they reach an age where they feel uncomfortable discussing race or worse, when society has taught them negative stereotypes and biases that will need to be unlearned.
We are all human and we must stand up for one another. It's never too early to teach our children to appreciate the beauty of every color and the people behind the colors as well.