My kids continually ask me how to make and mix colours. What does blue and yellow make? What colour does purple and red turn into? How do they make pink? And on it goes.
Meanwhile I always ask them, ‘What are the primary colours?’ They know the answers by now: red, blue, yellow.
So I decided it was time to stop talking and teach them about mixing colours. I discovered two fab ways to teach my kids how to mix colours:
1. LEARN HOW TO MIX ONLINE with the CBBC Colour Factory Game
2. PAINT MICE ON PAPER with the help of the book Mouse Paint
1. Mix colours online – CBBC’s Colour Factory
CBBC (Children’s BBC) has a great game online called COLOUR FACTORY. Of course, as it’s a British channel, colour is spelt the British way instead of US color.
There are three parts to this game. First they can try out the simple SORTING SECTOR. Here there’s a six part pie or colour wheel. They click on the pie pieces to fill in the primary and secondary colours. It’s an easy method of teaching them that red, blue and yellow are primary colours while orange, green and purple are secondary colours.
Next they clicked on the MIXING ROOM. Here there’s a twelve part colour wheel where they can learn how to mix primary colours and more. They click on the jars of paint, drag them into the robot mixer, press mix and voila!
After lots of experiments they end up with jars filled with the three primary colours, three secondary colours, and six tertiary colours. It’s sort of a child’s version of a colour mixing chart.
My daughter quite rightly called the ‘bluey green’ jar aquamarine. She knows this colour as it’s one of her favourites.
Once they’ve finished mixing colours and have filled the paint jars, they can enter the MESSY AREA. Here they can choose different pictures and various types of brushes. Using the paint jars they just filled, it’s time for their masterpieces. You can print them out or just hit escape.
What are the primary and secondary colours?
Primary = Red, Yellow, Blue
Secondary = Orange, Green, Purple
(Purple is sometimes also called Violet)
How do you mix primary colours to make secondary colours?
Blue + Red = Purple (Violet)
Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
2. Three Mice. See how they splash. See how they mix.
My main goal for them to learn how to mix colors is to help them have fun painting.
I chose the children’s book MOUSE PAINT by Ellen Stoll Walsh to show them how to mix colors. By copying the story, the book acts as a guide in teaching them what happens when you mix colors.
In this book three mice climb into three jars of paint in primary colors: ‘Then one was red, one was yellow, and one was blue.’ The mice have fun splashing in primary color puddles which turns their feet into the secondary colors of green, purple and orange.
I drew basic outlines of the mice from the book and let my kids use water color paints to fill them in.
Luce and Theo laughed as they made their mice feet turn into another color by adding another layer of paint. Make sure you add the second color straightaway when the paints are still wet so they mix.
“Blue feet in a red puddle make purple.”
What are the tertiary colours?
There are six tertiary colours: red-purple, blue-purple, red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green. Purple is also sometimes called violet.
Red + Purple/Violet = Red-purple/violet
Blue + Purple/Violet = Blue-purple/violet
Red + Orange = Red-orange
Yellow + Orange = Yellow-orange
Yellow + Green = Yellow-green
Blue + Green = Blue-green
There was only one downside to the CBBC COLOUR FACTORY game – my kids had to share a computer. After 40 minutes of intense focus and fun, it all went downhill. I whisked them outside to play when they started trying to shove each other out of the chair rather than waiting their turns.
What you need…
For the two fab ways to teach my kids how to mix colors I used (and you can click on my Amazon links if you want to order any):
CBBC’s Colour Factory games are free online.
As I bought it in the US for travelling, they used paints from their Darice Art Set.
In London we had a great Toyday Art Set which is available on UK Amazon.
As I like to paint I travel with my Sketchers’ Pocket box of watercolors by WINSOR & NEWTON. Also available on UK Amazon. This British company, founded in 1832, makes some of the top art products in the world. My travel box is actually the COTMAN student watercolours range, named after British landscape artist and etcher John Sell Cotman (1782-1842). If you want to mix colors to do your own paintings, I recommend these.