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Color Mixing with Kindergarten

Color Mixing with KindersI love how K’s will intuitively paint a line of blue across the top of the paper for the sky because the sky is above them! (They usually need to be taught to make the sky touch the ground. I save that lesson for later!) ~ Flowers by Gabriel

I like to start off our first color mixing lesson in Kindergarten by reading the story, “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Then, after a quick demo, the kids push up their sleeves (literally!) and dive right in!

Many Kindergarteners don’t have prior experience with mixing colors, as their pre-school paints were often pre-mixed into the colors they needed. These kids love color and they are like “sponges” when it comes to
learning about the color wheel!

I have found that the easiest way for kids to learn color mixing is to be specific about where to place their colors on the palette.

You’ll need:

  • Paper plates (uncoated ones work best)
  • Red, yellow and blue tempera paint
  • Container with water
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper towel


First, prepare the palettes…

1. First draw six circles, about 1″ in diameter, around a paper plate. (Special thanks to K teacher Hillary Dixon for coming up with this great idea!) Have an adult place a quarter-sized squirt of red, yellow and blue (the primary colors) in three of the circles, leaving an empty circle in between each one.

Then, demonstrate…

2. Teach this specific way to clean your brush when changing colors: Press the brush firmly on the bottom of the water container a few times, then blot it on a paper towel to get the extra water off. No swishing or tapping! (We had recently painted with watercolor, so I had to explain that we were not adding water to the paint this time. We were only using it to clean the brush.)

3. Demo the color mixing. Grab a good amount from the yellow puddle and place it in the circle between the yellow and the blue. Next, add a good amount of blue to this new puddle and mix the two together until you have a puddle of green. (If you do your color “grabbing” from the edges of the puddles instead of the center, you won’t need to clean your brush to pick up the next color.)

4. Clean your brush and do this same thing with the blue and the red to make a purple (or violet) puddle.

Now it’s time for kids to paint!

5. Follow the steps above and mix the 3 secondary colors on your palette.

6. Now, on your paper, paint three circles using the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) just above the middle of the paper. These will be the centers of your flowers.

7. Then use green to paint stems, leaves, and grass.

8. Finally, use your secondary colors (orange, purple, and green) to paint around your centers again. Use a different color to add petals. Fill your paper as much as possible!
~ Flowers by Jason

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