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Over time, I’ve done a few color mixing activities to help my children learn about the primary colors and how they combine to form secondary colors.
We previously did a simple color theory activity using liquid watercolors as well as a slightly more advanced color mixing activity using liquid watercolors. We also did a fun color mixing activity using paint in plastic bottles several years ago.
But on this occasion we used tempera paints to do a color mixing activity inspired by the book Mix It Up by Herve Tullet.
This post is part of the 28 Days of STEAM Blog Hop, where you can find hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math projects for kids.
The book Mix It Up is short, fun, and quirky. It covers both what happens when you mix the primary colors together and what happens when you add white or black paint to another color.
Although the book uses the terms red, yellow, and blue, we decided to use the proper names of the primary colors, which are magenta (red), yellow, and cyan (blue).
I started by squeezing a small amount of magenta, yellow, and cyan tempera paint onto paper plates. Although the book encourages kids to use their fingers to mix colors, my kids didn’t want to do that. So instead I provided them with Q-tips that they could use to mix their colors.
We had fun going page by page through the book and copying what was happening in the story.
We started by mixing yellow and cyan to make green.
Then we mixed magenta and cyan to make purple.
I set the book out so my kids could follow along as they worked. (And I provided a bowl for them to dump their used Q-tips.)
When the book showed magenta and cyan stripes mixing together to form purple, we made magenta and cyan stripes and dragged our Q-tips across them to blend the colors.
When the book showed what happens when you add white paint, we mixed white paint with the other colors.
My kids noticed how the colors got much lighter.
And when we added black, the colors got much darker.
At the end, the kids decided to go crazy and mix all their colors together.
We had expected the colors to mix into a muddy brown, but to our surprise the end result was actually quite pretty!
More resources for teaching colors
More color posts from Gift of Curiosity: