Colour mixing is one of the first art activities that most Montessori Primary children engage in, and it is a fundamental concept that children can later build on in other activities, including Reggio-style provocations.
Today, I wanted to share with you five successful invitations that my children enjoyed, a new favourite book, and some fun (mess-free) colour mixing ideas from my fellow bloggers.
Mix it Up by Herve Tullet was a book I was initially a bit skeptical about — I mean, why read about colour mixing when you could actually just mix colours?! But actually reading the book with my preschoolers brought out the magic of the book.
Mix It Up is an interactive book, like Don’t Push the Button, Press Here, or similar titles, encouraging kids to pretend to blend colours, tilt and shake the book to make colours run, and smoosh the pages together to make inkblot-style paintings, all while learning about colour mixing, shades, and hues. It’s a great choice for the mess-averse or sensory-sensitive child, who might want to “practice” with the book for awhile before being introduced to actual colour mixing; but it was also a huge hit with my mess-happy children who loved the interaction and transformation elements of the book.
I was actually surprised at how often Miss G picked up this book, considering she has an art room that she can freely paint in whenever she wants. I think it is a combination of the positive, affirmative language (“You’ve got the magic touch!”) and the approachable yet precise results. Most of the book is globs and dots of paint, so children can actually create what they are seeing — and genuinely feel like the results they are “causing” from page to page are paintings that they could actually create.
Mix It Up is definitely a launch pad into real-life art exploration, so here are 10 Colour-Mixing Activities to try after you’ve read the book (or whenever!):
One of the most important Reggio provocations (to me) is setting out black and white paints, and allowing children to discover how they mix and interact.
This inkblot (Rorschach) paintings invitation later prompted a Fire Safety Unit Study for the kids.
During our Green Week, Miss G poured yellow- and blue-dyed water to discover what colour we would be studying that week! Now that she’s older, we use eye droppers for this activity — which is a great fine motor exercise. If you’re working with a younger child or one with special needs, a mini-baster might be a better choice.
(You can also buy a complete kit to do this the proper Montessori way.)
During our Secondary Colours Week, Miss G mixed play dough on the light table, played with light paddles, and mixed paints on the easel.
I love this milk and dish soap experiment we did forever ago, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it here before yesterday! Colour mixing and science, what’s not to love?
The following ideas are mess-free colour mixing activities from my fellow Kid Blogger Network bloggers:
You can mix and name your own colours, like they did at Buggy and Buddy.
A mixed-age colour mixing activity from No Time for Flashcards using ziploc bags, food dye, and shaving cream.
Mixing liquid paints in a bag — and add a white piece of paper underneath to help the colours pop, as seen at Mama Smiles.
And, probably my favourite mess-free colour-mixing activity idea:
Mess-free toilet colour mixing from I Can Teach My Child.
So, tell me — what is your favourite colour mixing activity?
If you would like even more Mix It Up ideas, check out this awesome post from my friend, Jen (who also has a Miss G of her own), sharing her Mix It Up art kit and several ways to play!