Mix primary colors to make secondary and tertiary colors with this fun and easy color wheel activity (printable included).
This is a super fun, easy-to-set-up activity for children who are learning about colors. This hands-on lesson allows children to learn and explore primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Great for a science lesson and/or an art project!
I originally made this printable in 2010. However, I have since updated and enhanced the file. Both the original and the new versions of the secondary color wheel are included along with a tertiary color wheel. Download instructions are below.
First, prepare the supplies for the child to use:
- Laminate the color wheel printable (download instructions above) or slide it into a page protector.
- Dilute the food coloring a bit.
- Lay out the supplies as shown below.
Then, provide the following instructions to the child:
1. Drop food coloring on the page. Using the dropper, place a drop of each color onto the matching dot on the paper (i.e. one yellow dropped on each yellow dot on the paper, blue dropped on each blue dot on paper… and so forth) until all of the dots are covered with the appropriate color.
Helpful Hint: Be sure to clean the dropper in the cup of water each time you switch colors. Or use a new one for each color.
2. Mix the drops of food coloring. Use the toothpick to mix the colors in each circle. Use a different toothpick for each circle.
Helpful Hint: We found that it works best if you turn the toothpick a bit on its side rather than trying to mix while holding the toothpick straight up.
3. Lay the paper towel over the food coloring. Once all the circles of color are mixed together so that you have six little blobs of color (one in each circle), place a paper towel over the paper.
4. Lift & discuss. Lift up the paper towel color wheel and discuss how each color was made!
5. Read about it! Check out some of the books below for supplemental reading about colors, color mixing, and the color wheel.
I got the idea for this color mixing activity from Itty Bitty Love.