Are you looking for some new activities to try at home using what you already have? Colour mixing activities can often be altered to suit children of various ages and many of these activities use household items.
To create colours in our colour mixing activities we use:
- liquid watercolour paints
- food colouring
- colour bath tablets
I find it nice to use white trays as they provide a neutral background. I've used these activities with my three-year-old so I've started with primary colours only. While he knows a whole range of colours, it's good to give the child a really good foundation on mixing/blending primary colours before introducing secondary and tertiary colours. During art, we use lots of colours that mix and blend but these activities are more intentional and the focus is on mixing the primary colours.
Colour paddles. Our Colour Paddles paddles were only $1.50 (from K-Mart, AU), colour paddles are also available at educational supply stores. There are six paddles included in this set (red, blue, yellow, purple, orange and green) but for now, I've only presented the three primary colours.
When you hold the paddles up to the light you can see the mixed colours show through. These are a super easy and clean way to look at colour mixing.
Colour mixing with an ice tray. We are using three bowls of coloured water, a pipette and an ice cube tray. We could demonstrate to the child how to mix the colours for example blue and yellow make green. Or we can just allow the child to explore and make these discoveries on their own!
All of the activities using pipettes are fantastic for developing fine motor skills and coordination. If you don't have a pipette or a dropper you could also use a small spoon.
Colour mixing using paper towel. This is always a hit in our home!! I've actually bought paper towels specifically for this purpose. The child uses the pipette to drop different colours of water into the paper towel.
Because the paper towel is absorbent, as the child drops the colour water, the colours mix!
Colour mixing with ice cubes. This is the first time we've tried this and it worked well. I froze coloured water to make colour ice cubes. I presented the ice cubes with a white plate and some tongs.
The child can pick up the ice cubes and mix and experiment with colours as they wish.
Colour mixing with shaving cream. I've coloured the shaving cream and provided some spoons and a white plate.
The child can scoop and mix the coloured shaving cream. The colours didn't mix so well but it was a ton of fun.
Painting with liquid watercolour paints. We are using watercolour paper, which will hold the paint and be less soggy than standard paper.
Again we can show the child how to mix the colours or allow them to discover it on their own.
Here we are using the Liquid Colour Lab, which can be re-created with some test tubes.
This colour mixing has led to lots of independent play and long periods of concentration. It's useful also to present this on a tray to help contain mess and spills.
Are you wanting more ideas? How about...
Colour mixing using baking soda and vinegar.
Colour mixing with cotton rounds (or makeup pads).
Colour mixing with spray bottles.
Colour mixing with a range of tools including droppers and squirt bottles.
Colour mixing using coloured jars, this is for a classroom and I'd suggest for primary age.
If you are in Australia, we use these colour bath tablets from Woolworths.
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