Color Mixing With A Toddler & Preschooler

Doing projects with your kids is supposed to be fun for everyone, but when your kids are far apart in age it can be challenging. This project is perfect for different ages! Since having my daughter last year one of the most common questions I get is ” How do you craft with both kids?” Some days I do just a baby project, some days just a big kid one but there are times that we can all work together despite the almost 4 year age gap. This color mixing activity was perfect . They each had their parts and we had a blast being color scientists although if you ask my son his sister was his lab assistant not a full scientist, that is only for big kids.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some good quality zip lock bags, shaving cream, some paper, crayons or markers, and food coloring.
  2. Start by making a simple chart showing the colors to mix , leaving the result blank. Make sure you have the correct color of marker or crayon available for the result.  We made 4 colors, adjust the number of colors based on the attention span of your “scientists”.
  3. Add shaving cream to the zip lock. My son helped me with this step- he was so excited. I love when simple things make his day!
  4. Add the food coloring. We added 2 of each color but then increased it to 5. Look now they are counting too , I love when projects span many subject areas.
  5. Zip it up , making sure to squeeze out some air so when your “lab assistant” squishes it that the bag doesn’t pop.
  6. Squish! Until the colors are all mixed.
  7. She loved squishing, just watch they do not put it in their mouth. Whenever you are working with toddlers or infants you must always be within arms reach. Label the colors, use descriptive words while they explore.
  8. Come back and record the results by finding the correct color and completing the chart.
  9. Talk about the results. Ask if any colors were surprising , which color do they like the best and why?

Crafting, teaching or just generally parenting is different with multiple abilities but with a little effort you can find activities that can be done at the same time for every child in your care. We had a blast and another real benefit of a cooperative project like this is that your kids are working together something that isn’t always so easy to achieve.

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  1. says

    this looks like so much fun! My kids are very close in age (3 of them in just 17 months) but we still have a hard time playing together something – this one would be perfect! The oldest can write the colors and the other two can squish and mix.

  2. MelissaF says

    I have never commented on your site, but I use it ALL THE TIME, so, first I wanted to say THANKS! Second, there is an adorable book called Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh that would be perfect to read with this activity. I will try it when she wakes up from her nap!

  3. anonymous says

    I wanted to thank you for hosting the Summer Reading Challenge. My almost 5 yr old has always loved books, and reading together is one of our favorite things to do. While I consider us heavy readers, keeping track of the number of books we read has shown me that our hectic summer schedule has taken a toll on our reading time. I’m not sure I would have noticed as much if I hadn’t been keeping track for the challenge. I definitely do not want to slack off on reading to my son or diminish this special time together, so I’ve started getting more creative about how to fit books in. I’ve started bringing a couple books with us when we leave the house and now we read during our picnic lunch at the pool, or while we’re waiting for gas to pump, etc.. My son never turns down the chance to have a book read to him, so I’m thankful that your reading challenge challenged me to find ways to fit reading in even when we’re taking advantage of summer vacation!

  4. Alicia says

    I did this activity with my 4.5 and 14 mo old today. We had a great time! My son also had a blast squirting the shaving cream. I would definitely stress the good tiptop bags. I used some generic ones that don’t have slide lock and all my 14mo old wanted to do was open the bags (which she succeed at!) Also one opened when we were mixing too! Oops! We still had fun. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. Grumposaur says

    I did this with my daughter (5) who insisted the red/blue combo was grey! It had a purple tint to it but all she could see was grey. And then I used the colored pencils we were using to show her red & blue DO make purple. Nope. That was grey, too! ha!
    We had a lot of fun with this. We ended up dumping all of our colored shave cream into a baking sheet so she could really get messy. Now her skin is tinted an ugly green. SO worth it!

    Thanks for the post!


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