Toddler and Pre-school Theme Days


Black and White Day


Having colour theme days is a great way to introduce/teach/reinforce the colours to your toddler. 

When my youngest son was 2 ½ he showed no interest in learning his coloursWe read him a few books about colours and used his colour sorting toys but he still mixed them up.  Once we started these theme days he caught on quickly and started to proudly exclaim what colours he was wearing or what colours were on his toys without prompting.  He even named what Colour Day he wanted to do next.

My eldest son was a little jealous about his little brother getting special theme days so we started to wait until he got home from school to do the colour hunts.

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



Go through your crayons, markers, paints and construction/craft paper and remove all the black and white ones to use for this theme.

Set aside any dishes (cups, plates, bowls, plastic spoons etc.) you may have that are black or white and use these for snacks, lunch, dinner etc..

Set aside black and white clothes for your child to wear that day (and yourself, too, if you’d like).




“Baa Baa Black Sheep” is a perfect children’s song to review the colour black. Check here for lyrics: and sing out loud together.

For a more contemporary song to move around the room to find Sarah McLachlan’s “Black & White” on your favourite music provider.




Go online to your favourite search engine to find colouring pages of black and white things (animals like pandas, zebras, or penguins) or favourite black and white characters like the puppies from 101 Dalmatians or Po the Panda from Kung Fu Panda. Use black crayons and markers to colour.  Help your child cut the pictures out to glue in your Family Theme Day scrapbook.





This is an easy craft.  You just give your child a white crayon and some black paper.



Materials: Black or white paper, old magazines, child-safe scissors, washable glue stick, damp facecloth for sticky fingers.

· Step 1: Look through old magazines with your child and have him/her point out anything black or white that he/she sees.

· Step 2: Help your child cut out the black and white pictures from the magazine to make a pile of black and white pictures.

· Step 3: Show your child how to glue the pictures onto the black or white sheet of paper to make a collage and then let him/her glue the pictures on the paper however he/she likes.

· Step 4: When the collage is dry display (fridge, bulletin board, child’s door) or glue into Family Theme Scrapbook.



Materials: Sheet of black or white paper, child-safe scissors, glue stick, stapler, my Black and White Things Page, a facecloth for sticky fingers.


· Step 1: Help your child cut out the individual pictures.

· Step 2: Fold the sheet of black or white paper into three parts (as if you were going to put it in an envelope) and cut along the folds to make three rectangles.

· Step 3: Fold each of these three pieces of paper in half and cut along the fold to make six small sheets of paper.

· Step 4: Have your child apply glue to each picture and attach each on to a small sheet of black or white paper.

· Step 5: Help your child staple the sheets together to make a little booklet.

· Step 6:  Read the book together to review the colours black and white.






Search through your child’s books to find any that teach the colours and flip to the pages on black and white.


Go to the library before hand to find some colour books. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in Black and white or Colours under Children’s Books). Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try some of these titles if you can find them:


· White on Black, by Tana Hoban, Library of Congress, 1993 – This board book has no words but has white shapes/shadows as illustrations against a black background.  Make it a game to see if your child can guess what the picture is showing.


· Black on White, by Tana Hoban, Library of Congress, 1993 – This board book has no words but has black shapes/shadows as illustrations against a white background.  Make it a game to see if your child can guess what the picture is showing.


· What is Black and White?, by Petr Horáček, Candlewick Press, 2001 – This is a great board book that shows a black thing and a white thing on alternating pages that get smaller, creating a surprise ending when the created stripes make the back of a zebra.


· I Like Black and White, by Barbara Jean Hicks and illustrated by Lila Prap, Tiger tales, 2005 – Fun illustrations depict black and white animals as well as two children dancing.


· Bold and Bright  Black and White Animals, by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and illustrations by Kendahl Jan Jubb, Walker and Company, 1998—Great illustrations of each of the black and white creatures presented (skunk, penguin, killer whales, African butterflies, Borneo crab spider, lemurs, etc.) and a short text explaining why those creatures benefit from being black and white.


· White is for Blueberry, by George Shannon and Pictures by Laura Dronzek, Greenwillow Books, 2005 – Great bright colour paintings in a book that explores the unexpected colours found when you look at things differently (for instance blueberries are white before they are ready to eat).





Chopped banana makes a quick white snack.

Cream cheese or any firm white cheese like Swiss, Mozzarella, white Cheddar, on crackers is a delicious white snack.

Serve some cottage cheese in a white bowl for another quick snack.

For veggie lovers eat some cauliflower and with white dip (ranch dressing).

Vanilla or plain yogurt is another quick white snack.

For a special black and white treat serve mini (or regular sized) Oreo cookies or other chocolate wafer cookies with plain or vanilla milk. Yum!



I might be reaching here, but any cream based soup would work as they are sort of white.

White cheese sandwiches (Swiss, Mozzarella, white Cheddar...) would fit the theme as well.



For an all white meal try fish and rice.

Or serve some white sides with your regular dinner like mashed potatoes, rice or cooked cauliflower.



Vanilla pudding – follow box instructions or if you are ambitious make some pudding from scratch by searching for a recipe online or in your own cookbooks.

Vanilla ice-cream makes an easy white dessert.

For a black and white dessert have some Cookies & Cream ice-cream.






Materials: Off-white (or grey) squares of paper in a sandwich bag, a black pen, glue stick, damp facecloth for sticky fingers, print out the List of Black and white Things worksheet.

· Step 1: Explain to your child that you are on a hunt for the colour black and white.

· Step 2: Walk around the house and/ or outside to look for black and white things.

· Step 3: When your child finds something black and white you will write the name of the object etc. on a slip of grey or off-white paper and your child will glue the square on the sheet.

· Step 4: At the end of the hunt sit down and count out loud together how many black and white things were found.  Review what you found by reading the chart out loud.



              Search together through your child’s toys to find any that are black and white to play with.

              Play with black or white play dough or modelling clay.



              Play “I Spy With My Little Eye” only searching for black and white things.



Mixing Paint:

Show your child how to make grey by mixing black and white paint and then have fun painting together in grey, white (on black paper) and black (don’t forget to set out newspaper or a plastic sheet before hand and to wear old clothes or art smocks).





Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find shows with black and white characters like the 101 Dalmatians or any shows with the theme of teaching colours.

A Giant Panda from the Smithsonian

National Zoological Park in Washington D.C.

A Zebra at the Calgary Zoo in Alberta.

Photo: C Wright

Photo: C Wright

Magazine Collage

Painting with white paint

Painting with black paint

Mixing black and white paint

Black and White Hunt