5 Ways to Teach Primary Colors | The Nerd Nest 1

Ava is three and a half right now and stays home with me during the day, so this year we started on a preschool routine. Most of our day is spent playing, but we always try to get some direct learning activities in there. She likes to do “homework” (filling out pre-school workbooks) because she sees Eliza and Jonas do homework and wants her own. But we also do fun projects that I try to circle back to a theme.

I don’t think the themes themselves are that important. I usually pick something that she’s interested in. This is more about learning how to learn and themes also help me to come up with different fun ways to teach the same thing, which helps it stick.

Our last theme was primary and secondary colors and she had a blast with it! Here are five ways we learned about primary and secondary colors (in addition to completing a little color workbook).

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1. Paint!

Of the art supplies in our arsenal, paint is the easiest for a preschooler to mix to see the effects of color mixing. Crayons or colored pencils will work too, but at this age, it’s hard to press down hard enough to really start seeing the mixing.

Cheap watercolors are the least messy way for her to paint right now. She’s really proud of her paintings and has them all hanging up in her room! Pro tip–save plastic tablecloths from birthday or holiday parties to put down before painting with a tiny one.

Painting is something that she wanted to come back to again and again to see color mixing, and she remembered / understood more every time.

Our next color mixing activity with paint will be these shaving cream color mixing bags.

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2. Mix sidewalk chalk!

Sidewalk chalk is another easy medium kids can mix on their own. Just color two primary colors in an overlapping spot, then rub to make the secondary color appear!

We also drew rainbows with sidewalk chalk and talked about the order of the rainbow and that the secondary colors are between the primary colors that combine to make them.

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3. Do Science!

Feeling like a scientist is really fun for little kids and doing activities that seem like chemistry are a big hit with all of my kids.

We added water colored with food coloring dye in test tubes, then poured the primary colors together in a beaker to see the secondary colors appear! We discarded the water from the beaker into a flask to show that all of the colors mixed together made brown.

Of course, you can mix together primary colors in regular transparent cups, but the kids have endless fun pretending to “do science” with their Science Lab Activity Set.

I made the kids stay back during the dye part because I’ve learned the hard way what happens if they get ahold of those tiny bottles! I also try to keep a towel I don’t mind getting stained on hand if we’re doing anything with dye.

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4. Make Play Dough!

When Play Doh dries out, I just save the containers until I’m ready to replace it with a homemade batch. It’s really easy to do and is a great project for a tiny helper. (Is there anything more fun to a preschooler than dumping in ingredients?)

This time around, I used this recipe for homemade play dough and added a little bit of vanilla extract so it would smell better.

I used food coloring dye to make the colors–I did the actual mixing part while Ava watched. I make a little pocket inside each ball of dough to add the color and then knead it in, but be careful, because the dye can squirt out! I opted to show Ava that mixing two primary colors of dye into the center made a secondary color, but if you want your child to take a more active role, you can make several batches of primary colors and have them mix those together instead.

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5. Go Translucent!

Play with materials that let light through, like tissue paper or gel plastic, and layer primary colors to see secondary colors! This worked when we held tissue paper up to the light, but the tissue paper overlapping didn’t show the color underneath like I thought it would when we Mod Podged tissue paper onto this bunny. It worked in a few spots though!

What are some fun little kid learning activities you know and love? We’d love to try them!

P.S. The kids like the You Tube channel The Slow Mo Guys and they have some fun slow motion plaint mixing videos!

Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. Play Doh was project 6 of 52 for 2018! If you want to join in, share your projects at #52Projects2018.