Science Experiment – Mixing Paint Colors

Little M has always loved mixing colors. For her the process of exploring color while painting is what matters most. To say that she understands how colors mix and blend would be an understatement. (She also knows how paint feels in between your toes, in your hair and smeared across your belly… but that’s a story for another time.)

When the kids were little we did a very basic color mixing activity. If your kids are toddler or preschool age, I would start there. Now that they are getting older I wanted to really show them how many colors can really be made from just red, blue and yellow.

Since I’m working on creating little scientists, I made this a mixture of science and art. Ohhhh and the fun we had…

Science experiment for kids - mixing colors (great for the bigger kids)

Color Mixing Science Experiment

  • You’ll need red, yellow and blue paint, paint brushes, white paper and a plastic tray.
  • Talk about how many colors can be made from these three primary colors. Encourage your kids to think about what they already know. If they know the secondary color combinations then they can understand that purple, green, orange and brown can be made.
  • Ask if they know what happens if you add more red then yellow. What do they think will happen if there is a lot more yellow than red. Will the color be the same? Try not to agree or disagree with their idea… let the experiment do the teaching.

Science experiment for kids - mixing colors (great for the bigger kids)

  • Let your little one decide where to start. Little M wanted to start with yellow.
  • Have them draw a line using the color they chose.

Science experiment for kids - mixing colors (great for the bigger kids)

  • Once they have the line ask which color they would like to add. 
  • Add only a tiny drop and let your artist mix the colors. (Normally Little M does the squirting, she’s very good at using proper amounts. For this activity though, adding too much would ruin the experiment. So together we decided not to risk it.)
  • Use the new color to paint a line next to original color.
  • Add another drop of the second color. Mix. Paint a line.
  • And so on and so on until the second color is all that shows. (Little M decided on that for us. “Look Mom, now it’s just red.”)
  • You could start adding the third color into the mix. We rinsed the tray and started fresh with red from the bottle.

Follow up this science experiment with some questions. How many colors did you make? Was that more or less than you thought you would make? Could you have made more colors? How? What would happen if we added black to one of the colors? (ummm you may only want to ask that if you’re willing to test it. 😉 )

You could also have some fun creating names for each color. Then use those color names to create a storytelling activity. Well I could just keep going and going, better move on to next weeks lesson plan.


  1. I was thrilled to find this post in my ‘inbox’ this morning as we are looking for a new art/science idea to try out! Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. This one is definitely going on our ‘to do’ list. Have a great day!

  2. Now I know why you said to stick around for the next post 🙂 Yes, we started off with the same colors and my kiddo now knows which colors to mix to get the color he wants.

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