Preschool is the perfect time for hands-on learning. And nothing is more hands-on than fingerpainting! Part science project, part artistic expression, and part sensory experience, this activity gives students first-hand engagement with the science of color theory.
Introduce the concept of color theory art by starting with Herve Tullet’s book, Mix it Up. This fun, interactive book for preschoolers helps readers learn about creatively combining colors. Once the children’s interest is piqued, gather the supplies and get ready for a fun painting activity!
Colors Preschool Unit
Colors Preschool Unit$10.00
Learn all about colors, shading, mixing, colors of the rainbow, and the Holi Festival of Colors, in this Colors Preschool Unit. Preschoolers and their teachers will love this complete 10 day Circle Time unit. It includes detailed daily lesson plans, printable activities, as well as literacy, math, and fine motor centers. It also includes 11 bonus color posters.
Setting Up for Success
Finger painting is a messy process, so it is helpful to be ready with supplies and ideas before the activity begins. Gather these supplies before class and have them ready to go:
- Paint smocks
- Paint – red, blue, and yellow
- Sturdy bowls for the paint
- Fingerpainting paper (or other sturdy paper)
- A place to lay out the art to dry
Art smocks are a must as this is a messy activity. Provide sturdy bowls of primary-colored paint (red, blue, and yellow) to help promote independence and allow the students to choose and experiment freely. Specialty finger paint paper is resilient and can help prevent frustration from tearing due to oversaturation. But in a pinch, regular construction paper will work as well. If messes aren’t too stressful, this activity could also be done directly on the art table! Just be ready with a couple of large, wet towels for clean up.
The Process of Color Theory with Finger Paints
Invite the students to select two colors. Put the paint directly on each side of the paper or in each of their hands. Ask the students to predict what color they will create when they mix the colors. Finally, encourage the students to combine the two colors slowly and see what color happens when the two colors touch and mix.
Color Theory Adaptations for Special Needs
Quite a few children struggle with the feel of the paint on their hands. Some ways to help with this include:
- Have wipes or rags nearby so the student can wipe their hands
- Allow paint brushes, spoons, or other objects to mix the paint
- Offer the student gloves to wear while mixing
- Apply the paint to the paper using a spoon then fold the paper in half and the student presses down on the paper to mix the paint inside the fold
Opportunities for Conversations
Students can also experiment with proportions. While they play with more or less paint, ask the students questions like:
- What happens when a tiny bit of red is mixed into a whole lot of yellow?
- How can we make a color lighter or darker?
- What happens when all three colors are mixed together?
Print off these free color mixing labels HERE.
However this activity is achieved, know that the messes made will probably be the most fun the students had all day! Have fun getting messy and learning!
Other Opportunities and Resources About Colors
- Colors Unit for Preschoolers
- Crayon Color Sort Bulletin Board for Preschool
- Color Mixing Science Experiments
- Color Theory on the Light Table
Crayon Color Sort Bulletin Board for Preschool
Crayon Color Sort Bulletin Board for Preschool$3.00
Interactive Bulletin Boards are more than just a classroom decoration! They are a versatile, vertical, very awesome learning center. Use this Crayon Color Sort bulletin board with your students to introduce sorting, color identification, and color sight word practice.
Includes the pictures and pieces to create a bulletin board as well as 2 recording sheets for students to color, trace, and write the color words.
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