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Mixing Paint: Blue, Red, and Yellow

Mix colors of paint to make lots of different colors.


  • red, blue, and yellow paint, plus white and black paint 
  • 2 or 3 paper plates, a paintbrush with a small tip or a craft stick (for each child)

Key Science Concepts

  • A single color can have different shades, from very light to very dark.
  • Two or more colors can be combined to make a new color.
  • Mixing colored paint with white paint makes a lighter shade of that color.


Encourage children to use color names, as well as key terms such as color, paint, and shade; descriptive words such as light, lighter, dark, and darker; action words such as describe, paint, and mix; and science process words such as change, compare, observe, and predict.


Tell children that they will be mixing three colors of paint together to make many different colors. They can also mix in white and black paint to create different shades.

  1. Let children experiment with mixing blue, yellow, red, black, and white.
  2. Talk with the children about what they are noticing and doing:
    • How did you make that color? How much (insert color) did you use?
    • What happened when you mixed three colors together?
    • How did adding (white/black) change the color?
    • Do you have any colors that are the same? Were you able to create different shades of any of your colors? How did you do it?

Reflect and Share

Write down children’s ideas and discoveries on the “Mixing New Colors” chart. Have children think about how they investigated and experimented.

  • How did you decide on which colors to mix? What did you want to discover?
  • James, you were describing how you added just one drop of white paint at a time. What were you trying to do? 
  • Sonia, you said you wanted to make a bright pink. How did you decide how to make it?   
  • Kyle, you said you decided to mix all the colors together at once. What did this help you find out?