Giving children the opportunity and time to explore color is full of learning opportunities. Our Color Mixing Activity will help your children break free of seeing color only in terms of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. The children will be given the opportunity to invent new colors and in the process explore mathematics, scientific exploration, literacy, artistic expression and creativity.
This activity is best for children 4 years and older who have had ample opportunities to explore painting. For younger children or those who have not had much exposure to painting I recommend exploring painting through the techniques discussed in Painting 101: How to Introduce Painting to Children.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE COLOR MIXING ACTIVITY
large white paper (approximately 11 inch x 14 inch)
tempera paint (red, yellow, blue)
containers for paint (you can use small bowls or plastic yogurt containers work well),
plates/bowls for creating new colors,
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AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT ENHANCED BY COLOR MIXING ACTIVITY
mathematics (measuring, symbols (addition, equals)
scientific exploration (observation, predictions)
literacy (talking about artwork, visual representation on chart, name recognition)
fine motor development
Prior to beginning the Coloring Mixing Activity create a piece of paper with “(Name)’s Color Inventions” written at the top and 4 boxes. Set up small containers with red, yellow and blue tempera paints, 1 spoon per container, a paint brush and plates or palettes to mix colors on.
Introduce the activity to your child. “Today we are going to invent our own colors! You are going to make a recipe for each new color so we need to keep track of how many spoonfuls you use. Let’s get started! What color do you want to start with? Tip: If you are working in a classroom setting with younger children I recommend doing this in small groups so that you can help them keep track of the number of scoops they are using.
Have your child begin by adding spoonfuls of paint onto a plate. Your child can use the paintbrush to mix the colors together until he gets the color he wants. Help your child keep track of the spoonfuls by verbalizing his actions. “First you added 1 spoonful of yellow. Next you are adding 2 spoonfuls of blue. Now you have 1 spoonful of yellow plus to 2 spoonfuls of blue.” This activity is a fantastic opportunity to begin to explore mathematical terms that focus on addition.
Once your child decides he has invented his new color have him paint it into the box. Write the “color recipe” under the new paint color using a mathematical equation such as “1 Yellow + 2 Blue + 3 Red=” Next have your child name the color. I had to stifle my laughter during this part! My son looked at the new color for a minute and then said “Isaac”. Ha! I love that he named his color an actual person’s name!
My favorite part of this experience happened the following morning as I was driving my son to school. We usually play a game where we each pick a car color and see who can find 10 first. That morning Quinn said “Mom, let’s see if we can find anything that is Treebark (one of the colors he invented).” I love that this experience held so much meaning to him!
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