Discover Color Mixing With This Simple Hands-on Activity

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Always have food coloring at home. You never know when the perfect opportunity will present itself to use it for play. This activity was one of those moments in which looking around at what our kid was playing with the thought came to me. What if we added some color to this? We gathered the materials, added some food coloring and voilá, a fun and entertaining color mixing activity! This engaging hands-on color mixing activity to learn colors is so simple and yet very entertaining for little ones as they can see the effects of mixing colors all by themselves. They will also develop their fine motor and critical thinking skills as they try different combinations and observe the results.

hands on color mixing activity with water to learn about colors and develop fine motor skills and critical thinking

Materials For Hands-on Color Mixing Activity

Here are the materials we used but you can always adapt to whatever you have at home. 

  • Plastic syringe
  • Plastic painting tray
  • Containers for mixing water and color (we used the Ikea ice pop maker which was great because it had a stand)
  • Paintbrush and thick paper for later

The plastic syringe was great for motor skills and it did add a level of fun that is different from just pouring from a cup. Also the plastic painting tray added a lovely pretend-play artist vibe to it. 

Preparation and Color Mixing

This is how we did it:

  • We added water to three containers
  • Mixed in the food coloring (just red, yellow and blue)
  • Used the syringe to transfer water to the tray
  • Played and discovered what happened when mixing colors
  • Once the tray was full, our kid decided she wanted to paint with her beautiful palette so that is what she did

This hands-on color mixing activity is perfect for preschool-aged kids to do all by themselves. The only thing I oversaw was adding color because blue tends to be overpowering. Other than that you can sit back and observe or join in the excitement of color mixing!

fine motor skills development practice hands on color mixing activity

Color Talk For Your Hands-On Color Mixing Activity

As always, we encourage you to talk to your kids during these activities. This will help them enrich their vocabulary which is key when learning about new things. Some great ways to engage in conversation and some critical thinking in this hands-on color mixing activity could be:

  • Introduce the concept of primary colors and let them explore to see how many different colors they can create
  • I love that color, what primary colors did you use to create that one?
  • What happens if you mix…?
  • Can you try making…? (trial and error)
  • Have you tried mixing…? What do you think will happen? Let’s see if you were right
  • Talk about tone, what happens if you mix more of one color with just a bit of the other?

There are many opportunities for some great conversations about color and children seem to gravitate towards colorful experiences so this is a great activity for that. Also, playing with water is always so soothing for kids and a great sensory experience.

Explore more…

For more great activities to do with water:

Or more hands-on color mixing activties:

hands on color mixing activity develop fine motor skills critical thinking and learn about colors with water

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