Frye Families: The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh

Small Frye is a free monthly program for preschoolers and their caregivers. If you are not able to attend, you can check back here every month for a different artmaking activity inspired by the story. To learn more about the program, including how to register, visit our program page.     

In January, we read The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar. 

Watch the video and reflect on the story with your child using the questions below.


Harpreet chose the color of his patka based on how he was feeling. What are some of your favorite clothes to wear? How do you feel when you put those on?  

What do you like to do when you’re feeling happy? Excited? What do you do when you’re feeling sad, or sleepy? 

What color do you think of when you’re happy? Excited? Sad or sleepy? 

Take a couple of deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and let’s check in with your body. How are you feeling today? What is a color that feels most like you today?



Harpreet Singh loves his colors—but when his family moves to a new city, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again? Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, such as pink for dancing to bhangra beats and red for courage. 

In this artmaking activity, we follow Harpreet’s lead and choose colors of paint to express how we feel. The activity, which is inspired by shibori dyeing technique, offers an opportunity for Small Fryes and their caregivers to connect through observing different emotional states and identifying relationships between colors, thoughts, and feelings. The finished project offers a “wow” moment by revealing a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors.

Photo of supplies for art project

Materials List: 

  • Water-based ink dye, liquid watercolor, or fluid acrylic paint, diluted to watery consistency (but still vibrant) as needed – 3 to 5 colors 

  • Inkdroppers 

  • Absorbent paper, ie. Mulberry – around 8” x 24” per sheet 

  • Drying rack or area 

  • Masking tape 

  • Gloves (optional)

Photo of a accordion folded piece of mulberry paper


Prepare the paper by folding it lengthwise, accordion-style, into multiple pleats.


Photo of a folded piece of mulberry paper wrapped into a circle and secured with a piece of tape

Then, pull the ends of the folded paper to meet and overlap into a ring, and secure lightly with a small piece of masking tape. The tape should be secured lightly enough that it is easy to remove.  

Place the folded paper ring on a covered table or surface. Prepare the liquid paints and place them nearby, each with a dedicated inkdropper (you can also use one inkdropper for all the paints if you’re OK with some color mixing). 

Photo of someone dripping paint from a dropper onto a ring of folded paper

Begin the color application by asking your Small Frye a question to guide the activity as you choose and add colors. When a color is chosen, apply an inkdropper full of color onto the folded paper ring. Be mindful that the paint is seeping down into the folds of the paper. Continue asking questions as you choose more colors to add. 

  • Which color are you feeling right now?  

  • Which color makes you feel excited?  

  • Which color makes you feel sleepy?  

Photo of a colorful ring of paper with ink drips on it and containers with ink and droppers around it

Repeat the steps until the folded paper ring is saturated with color. Let it sit and dry, still wrapped and taped, for about 5 minutes. 

Photo of two colorful artworks made by the process described in the post

After 5 minutes or when the paper feels dry enough and is no longer dripping, remove the tape and unfold to reveal a patterned array of beautiful colors! Allow the paper to fully dry on the table or on a drying rack. 

Reflect with your Small Frye on the process of creating this art project. Were there any surprises? Does looking at the finished artwork prompt any feelings?  

Encourage your Small Frye to look and reflect on the colorful artwork they’ve made. Have fun creating and looking at beautiful pieces of art together! 

Photo of two artworks: one is primarily orange and yellow; the other green, pink, and blue