Primary colors are one of the first art concepts I like to introduce young kids to in art. First, because they are a basic building block for understanding how to make all kinds of things. And second, because mixing colors is kind of magical. Color mixing on coffee filters is a fun introduction to what happens when those primary colors mix together!
Books + Art =Win
Those of you that know me I love to connect art and art concepts to children’s literature. Sharing a book begins class on a nice, calm, often silly note. Kids look forward to it. Sometimes I choose books that help introduce the kids to a famous artist or work of art. But, today’s book is a simple illustration of color mixing. (Affiliate link) Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is a fun little story about, of course, what happens when blue and yellow mix.
Color Mixing with Play-Doh
While Play-Doh isn’t good for art with longevity it is a great tool for demonstrating color mixing. (Affiliate link) This Play-Doh assortment has perfect primary colors magenta, turquoise, and yellow for color mixing. Each child got two primary colors at a time and experimented with what happens when they are mixed in different amounts. And lots of kids then made some beautiful browns by mixing all their colors together.
After the talking we move on to the doing. Each child folds a plain white coffee filter into fourths. They filled the coffee filters with dots, dashes, any kinds of marks using markers. This (Affiliate link) 40 pack of Crayola Washable Markers is perfect for small class use and has lots of great colors to choose from! We made our marks slowly, so the ink really had time to sink into the four layers of the filter. It is acceptable to leave plenty of white space between marks. The next step will fill it all in! I encouraged kids to experiment with the primary colors but did not restrict them to only using those.
Our class lasted an hour and most kids had time to fill three or four coffee filters with color. The kids helped spray their coffee filters with water. White space is quickly filled in, colors swim together and new colors and shapes are made! This part was FUN for the kids to witness!
Another book, you guessed it. We started with a short, light hearted story about colors being friends and getting mixed up titled (affiliate link) The Crayon A Colorful Tale About Friendship.
Coffee filters were unfolded. The kids then spent the first few minutes of this class creating a collage with their new color mixing circles. I supplied additional solid colors of construction paper and minimal guidelines. They chopped and glued to their hearts content. I added a couple sizes of these (affiliate link) Round and Round Circular Squeeze Paper Punches by Fiskars. The kids thought they were pretty fun and they added an extra element of shape to their finished collages. However, we did learn the hard way that they will not punch through the coffee filters. They worked best left to punching the construction paper!
If you enjoyed this color mixing fun check out this list of children’s books that focus on teaching about color and the other elements of art!
These affiliate links that will help you find inspiration for your own creative adventures!!