There are a couple ways we love to practice colors in an experimental way. Every time I tell my kids we are doing an experiment, they love it regardless of what we do.
1. Water, food dye, eye droppers, ice cube tray
I filled some squares of the ice cube tray with water and dropped the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) food dye in it. I asked the kids: What do you think will happen when we mix 2 colors? Blue and Yellow. If they have never mixed colors before, they might have no idea, but just encourage them to make a prediction and ask them why they made that prediction. Children may have a difficult time explaining why they think something, but it is great to just introduce the idea of explaining why we think the way we do. My kids love to guess all sorts of colors. We used eye droppers to pick up the color and dropped it into a clean square to mix our colors and create secondary colors. I then let them explore further by mixing any colors that they desire. My son loves to challenge himself to make new colors, especially brown. We discuss the concepts of primary colors and secondary colors. You can also extend the activity by creating tertiary colors by mixing secondary colors with primary colors.
On a large piece of paper, I drop red, blue, and yellow paint in the shape of a triangle. We make predictions about what happens when we mix the colors together. Then we mix the colors between two colors that are side by side.
We also use this opportunity to discuss other concepts, such as what colors make us feel. For example, I ask them: How does the color red make you feel? I give them a chance to answer before giving them suggestions if they need any (like mad, happy). This allows the activity to be extended into creating art using colors to express how they feel or think.
Another extension could be mixing in white and black to create tints. This leads to discussions about lighter or darker colors. You can also challenge them to create new colors by asking them questions like: How can we make dark blue? light purple?
Color mixing is an activity that can be done over and over again without getting boring.
1. Mouse Paint - By Ellen Walsh is a fun book that teaches kids about colors.
2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr/Eric Carle is a classic book that introduces colors to kids. We have been reading this book to our kids since they were babies and they still continue to read this to each other now.
3. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni is a book about a chameleon who is sad because he doesn't have his own color. This is a great book to discuss how chameleons change colors.
4. Freight Train by Donal Crews is a popular book here because my kids are obsessed with trains. This is a simple book that teaches different colors and train cars.