Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Color Mixing Bags

blog pics 045So, M has really been into the color mixing idea lately. But, he’s not quite “getting” it, if you know what I mean. He loves that you can mix two colors together and get a totally new color. I mean, that is pretty neat if you think about it – I’m sure to a toddler/preschooler it seems like magic.

But he will pick random colors and say things like “Mommy, guess what you get when you mix together pink, brown, and orange!” Then he’ll say “Green!!” :) Sometimes he says something along the lines of “dark green” or “light green” which really cracks me up.

So, apparently we need to work on shades of color (which will be in a separate post – probably a tot school one), and exactly which colors mix together to make new colors.

He loved the color mixing activity we did a while ago and I’m going to try to do a new color mixing activity on a regular basis. Lots of exposure to the idea in various ways means it will eventually come together in his mind and he will understand it (I hope).

This week we made simple color mixing bags with paint. We’ve all seen these on other blogs, this is nothing new! But anyway, here’s what we did…

First, get 3 good heavy duty ziploc bags (you may want to double up your bags – one of ours tore.) Place two dollops of paint in each one, one in each corner. Bag 1 – red and blue, bag 2 – red and yellow, bag 3 – blue and yellow:blog pics 033Tape the bags shut with duct tape or packaging tape.

Then talk about how colors can mix together to make new colors. Give your child a bag and ask him/her to guess what these two colors will make mixed together. If he says “kinda purplish-green, I think” just smile and say “let’s see!” and let him squish the paint around and mix it up. It’s important that the discovery be solely the child’s… they remember things so much more easily if this is the case. Act surprised when he says “it’s orange!” :)blog pics 039 blog pics 041

You can do more with these after the colors are mixed – I showed M how to draw shapes with his finger, and we practiced a few letters too!. You can smooth out the paint into a very thin layer and see if you can look through it. Hold it up to the window if it’s sunny and see how pretty it is!blog pics 044

Enjoy! Have a beautiful, very colorful, day! :)


  1. You always have great ideas. I love it - not only because it's educational, but also because it's so self-directed. I admit that I am a procrastinator when it comes to the activities like this, but seeing Matthew enjoying them makes me want to find the time.

  2. I love your ideas! I do something similar with my Sunday school classes, but with play dough and food coloring. I would take home made play dough and color it lets say yellow, hide red food coloring inside of it, then let the kids squeeze it until it turned orange, then they would have to guess what color I had hid in the play dough. Fun was had by all, and the surprised looks on the kids were great!

  3. I really want to try this with Maddie. Since she loved the "hidden" picture, I think she'd love the "magic" of mixing colors. We'll have to try this soon!

  4. Bear loved doing this a while back. Have you read him the book "Little Blue and Little Yellow"? I think is is by Lionni, but I am not sure. The two dots hug and become green partway through the book. It would be a great literary connection for this activity.

  5. Great idea! D loves mixing colors. We will definately try this less messy version. The other day I let the boys paint in the bathtub. D's favorite part was changing the color of the bath water by mixing different colors. Not quite what I had in mind but they had fun.

  6. i have been meaning to try this activity for such a long time but now after seeing you do it i think ill do it oson. it came out gorgeous!!! thanks so much for sharing.. your blog is so full of inspiration

  7. Neat activity. Crumpet is obsessed with the idea of color mixing too, and is constantly asking what happens if I mix x and y colors... I'll have to try this with him.


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