Showing preschoolers and kindergarteners a color mixing chart is not the best way to help them remember what colors mix together to form what colors.
The best way to do it is to visually show them with a hands-on activity!
This color mixing with colored ice cubes and water activity is super easy to set up, and it gives younger kids a great visual introduction to color mixing.
Color Mixing with Ice Cubes and Water
- Ice cube tray(s)
- Food coloring
- Containers (drinking class, small bowls, etc.)
- Optional: Pipette/dropper
- Optional: Pen and paper for labels
- Pour some water into the container and add a few drops of red food coloring.
- Mix well.
- Pour the colored water into the ice cube tray.
- Optional: Give the pipette or dropper to your kid and have him use it to fill the ice cube tray with the colored water. Kids love using droppers and this is also a great opportunity to exercise their fine motor skills!
- Repeat steps #1-4 with blue and green food coloring. If you are using the same ice tray for all the colors, make sure you don’t mix them. You can also make more ice cubes with other colors, but just make sure you make ice cubes of three primary colors.
- Place the ice cube tray in the freezer.
- Wait a few hours for the colored water to freeze. I recommend doing this overnight so your child doesn’t ask you to check it every two seconds.
- Set out containers for color mixing.
- Optional: Label each container with the two colored ice cubes that will be in them.
- Have your child guess what colors the ice cubes will form when you combine the two different colors.
- Place different colored ice cubes in the containers. For the primary colors, make sure you combine:
- Red and blue
- Red and yellow
- Yellow and blue
- Check the colors in each container as the ice cube melted. See if your child’s hypothesis is correct.
Final Thoughts on Ice Color Mixing
Combining different colored ice cubes is a simple way for kids to learn about color mixing.
You can take this activity a step farther for older kids and combine other colors. For example, we made green ice cubes, and we mixed it with a blue ice cube in one container, and with a yellow ice cube in another. Since green is technically blue and yellow, combining it with more yellow just made a lighter green. And as expected, combining the green with blue made the water darker and bluer.
And of course, kids can’t resist combining all the colors together. My kids have done enough color mixing activities to know that when you throw all the colors together, you get brown!
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