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Mixing Colors With Finger Paints

Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Science Activities for Children 3 to 6









3 through 4 Years Old


Small Group

PDF Available


Painting shirts
Tables covered with butcher paper or newspaper
Easel paper
Finger painting paper
Finger paints in primary colors: red, blue and yellow
Sponge and bowl of water
Colored construction paper
Dish tub of warm soapy water
Dish tub of warm clear water
Cloth or paper towels
Color wheel, optional


1. Tell the children that there are three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Explain the word
“primary” means first and these colors are the first colors because when they are mixed
together, they make other colors called secondary (second) colors. Tell them that today they
are going to mix two of the primary colors to find out what secondary colors they make.
2. Divide the children into small groups.
3. Taking one group at a time, ask the children to put on painting shirts and roll up their
4. On a covered table, place a sheet of easel paper and on top of that, a smaller sheet of finger
painting paper.
5. Write the child’s name on the back of the finger painting paper.
6. Wet each paper with a wet sponge and let the child pick two colors. Put 1 tablespoon (15
ml) of each color on his paper. If you are using tempera, also add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of
liquid starch.
7. Let the children use their hands to mix the paint and create a new color.
8. When the children are finished, lift the painting by the easel paper to dry elsewhere.
9. At another table, have an adult help each child make hand prints on the colored construction
paper before the paint on their hands dries.
10. Ask each child as he finishes to wash his hands in the warm soapy water, then rinse in the
clear water and wipe on a towel.

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