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Mixin’ it up // Color Mixing Lesson for Pre-schoolers

We have a delightful little group of 3-5 year old artists in our classes this Fall – some of whom are new to exploring with art materials and some who, even at their short stature, try to teach us a thing or two. Regardless of age, any lesson that involves color mixing is always a hit!

We teach a variety of color mixing projects at small hands big art – but with these little ones – we find that using primary colors of liquid watercolor and eye droppers to be a fun hands-on method that blends science and art.

After getting everyone in a colorful mood with a fun book like “Monsters Love Colors“, children begin by painting pre-cut watercolor paper circles with their primary colors. Then we direct our attention to the color wheel for clues as to what colors we’re missing.  They begin concocting their colors by using their eyedroppers to squeeze a few drops of two colors into an empty container, only allowing two colors to be mixed at a time.  It’s always fun to hear their delightful squeals, “Look!  I made GREEEEEEN”, “Red and blue make PURPLE!!!”, and the occasional “Orange and green make BLUUUUUEEEE!”

Even more fun is watching their imaginations come to life as we challenge them to use their six painted circles to create a “picture” of something.  We believe in taking a “hands off” approach to open-ended projects like this, prompting and stimulating their imaginations with questions rather than giving them specific suggestions.  A typical conversation goes something like this:

Which color circle do you want to start with?

Purple

Well what are you going to turn it into?

A Bird

Well what part of the bird’s body do you want your purple circle to become?

His head

What else is on a birds head?

Eyes and beak

Draw those! What shapes do you need for eyes and a beak?

Circles and a triangle

How does a bird move?

It flies

Does he do that with hands?

No! Wings

Go ahead and draw some wings! Do birds wear clothes?

No! Feathers

Go ahead and draw some feathers! Does your bird need anything else?

He’s done. I like him!

We like him too!


We loved Jack’s purple bird, orange fox, and blue dog – complete with furry tongue and all!

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