“Can I experiment and mix my own paint colours?”
My nine year old had been looking through our newest art book, Art Workshop for Children by Barbara Rucci (affiliate link), trying to decide which project he’d like to try first. There are so many interesting ideas and beautiful images in this book, but eventually he settled on the mix your own paint colours activity.
You don’t need any fancy equipment for this art activity and the process is delightfully simple too. All you need, is to let go of your adult caution, and let the kids experiment, explore, mix and learn.
The basic transformation from primary to secondary colours was not a new concept for my boys (aged 6 and 9) but it is still magical when you are making that change yourself!
We started with the primary colours, plus black and white, and later added in some fluro and metallic paints too. With lots of containers, paint palettes, brushes and craft sticks, there was lots of opportunity for the boys to create their own amazing colour creations, and lots of opportunities for all kinds of learning.
From this simple colour mixing activity the boys used all kinds of and complex thinking as well as other skills and strategies.
What kids learn from this simple colour mixing activity:
- They used scientific thinking to observe, predict and compare, and they experimented with cause and effect. ‘What will happen if we mix all three primary colours together?’ ‘How much yellow do you need to add to make green?’ ‘Can I make the exact same colour twice?’
- They used problem solving skills and came up with ideas for what to do when the colour they were mixing didn’t turn out quite the way they had hoped.
- They used mathematical concepts such as more and less, and devised ways to measure how much paint they were adding.
- They used a multitude of fine motor skills like squeezing, pouring and mixing, and worked on controlling those skills. It’s not always easy to pour just a little bit of colour!
- They had hands on learning and experience with primary, secondary and tertiary colors, as well as tints, and shades. ‘What happens if you add white?’ ‘What about when you add black?’
- They used lots of descriptive language and creative thinking skills to come up with names for their colours. ‘Bog green’ and ‘dead fish blue’ were among my favourites, as well as ‘super hot fire red’ and ‘
And once they’d mixed a whole heap of amazing colours… they painted!
If you’ve got some paint left over you could try one of these easy painting activities:
We are so lucky to have been sent a copy of this beautiful and inspiring book.
Art Workshop for Children includes 25 process art ideas with bright, colourful photos as well as lots of tips and ideas for how to add to or vary each project. There is also some beautiful essays about kids and art and why it is important written by Betsy McKeena, a Reggio inspired educator.
The process art ideas are inspiring, but not difficult. This book won’t sit on the shelf unused, it will end up a little sticky with paint and glue from all the love it gets.
To find out more information about this lovely book and it’s author, pop on over to Barbara’s blog, Artbar, and say hello.
It’s available at Amazon and Booktopia and all the other places you buy your books.
Disclosure: Barbara sent us a copy of her lovely book as a gift, with no expectation or request to promote it, but my boys and I had so much fun doing this activity that I really wanted to share it, and the book, with all of you. I have used affiliate links in this post, if you click on a link and buy something, we get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Caro Webster says
Love this Kate. We like to find something from nature; a conker, a leaf, a flower and try and match the colour. So much fun!
Oh that is such an awesome idea! My big boy would LOVE to do that.. thanks so much for the suggestion!
I am so in love with this post, Kate!! I love the photo of your two boys with aprons on mixing colors – it is the BEST ever. Thank you for writing such a lovely review of my book, and I am beyond thrilled that this book has inspired these young artists and expert color mixers. Dead fish blue is my new favorite color!! xx Bar
Lynda @ Toddler Baby World says
I really enjoyed reading your post. I thought your post was beautifully written. Thank you very much.
A happy Thanksgiving made more happy! Thanks for your inviting art for kids ideas. My Grandbabies 7 and 10 will decorate our tree today. I know your ideas will inspire much fun. Have a blessed holiday.