Mixing Paint Colors Preschool Art and Science

Kids can explore the results of mixing paint colors together in a process art activity. Mix two or more paint colors to combine science and art in hands-on creative play. 

preschool painting art and science activity

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Mixing paint colors together is an amazing opportunity for kids to explore and create.

This simple color mixing activity is a fun way for toddlers and preschoolers to make observations as young scientists, while enjoying a process art experience.

Kids can observe changes as they mix one color with another, then use the new color to make a painting. This type of activity that combines science with art is often referred to as STEAM.

S.T.E.A.M. = Science + Technology +Engineering +Art + Math

Kids naturally apply the principles of STEAM to everyday play.

Here is an example of STEAM play with blocks

  • building towers (engineering)
  • choosing blocks by color or shape (art)
  • using blocks as weights (technology)
  • counting blocks (math)
  • observing blocks as they topple (science).

A color mixing activity is an invitation for kids to explore and create.

Here's how science and art go together in this STEAM in this activity:

  • Science = creating new colors by mixing colors together
  • Art = using different colors to paint pictures 


Fun STEAM resource! 

STEAM KIDS 50+ Activities


Kids science and art STEAM digital resource



Mixing paint colors

This painting activity may unfold in different ways. Allow your early learner to be your guide as much as possible, making this a child-led activity.

Kids can:

  • choose paint colors and brushes.
  • decide which colors to mix together, in what order.
  • transfer the colors they create to plain paper to make patterns and designs.

Related: Tips for making painting with preschoolers fun and easy.  Parents and educators offer simple setup and cleanup advice.


Instructions for a mixing paint colors activity


Painting with a variety of paint colors

1. Setup

Drop a blob of each paint color onto a plastic tray.

  • The plastic surface allows the paint to move freely over the tray, and is easy to clean up with soap and water. You could also apply the paint directly to paper or a cardboard canvas.

You can do some painting on paper first, like we did, before starting to mix the colors.



Mix paint colors with a paint brush preschool art activity


2. Color Mixing

Pull the colors from the top down with a paint brush. 

  • What happens when you combine two colors, or three colors? Is the new color darker or lighter?

  • Does your picture look like a river? A waterfall? A rainbow? 

Describe and name the colors you draw from the top, as well as the new colors you create.


Painting with preschoolers mixing paint colors activity


Once all the colors are mixed together you can extend the activity as you draw designs or letters in the paint.

We also played tic-tac-toe!


Mixing colors painting activity for preschoolers


Why settle for just two or three colors when you can have so many more by mixing colors together?

Provide kids with opportunities for process art activities - where the process is encouraged rather than the outcome - to help them develop early childhood skills with hands-on fun.

Combine art and science in this simple activity to encourage kids to explore and experiment!


science and art STEAM in a painting activity


Counting and Colors on Pinterest


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