Color Lab Science For Kids

color science for kids What would happen if we put watercolors in shaving cream? What about vinegar ? Or oil? Great hands on science always begins with ” I wonder…” and this color lab science activity was no exception. We wondered what would happen if we mixed water colors and different household liquids. After we explored our set questions it was time for completely kid directed play. We used liquid watercolors made with plain old paint instead of food color to avoid staining. Food color will make much more vivid colors.

Gather your materials. We used water, vinegar, shaving cream and oil for our liquids, liquid watercolors, some jars, an eye dropper, a cookie sheet, and goggles! color lab for preschool

Start by making liquid watercolors. Pop the disks out of the watercolor tray and add a little water. Sit for a few minutes and stir. liquid water color lab

Now you are ready to set up your color lab! Pour the liquids in ( I did the shaving cream) . color lab science for preschoolers

Time make a few predictions.

Grab your eye dropper and start adding colors. The eye dropper is important because it gives this activity an element of fine motor development as well, it takes a lot of coordination to make eye droppers work and works out the pincer grasp too. color lab water

She noted how slowly the colors floated down through the water.

The colors seems the same in the vinegar. I asked her if anything was different and she said the smell! Observing is a huge part of science!

The shaving cream was interesting because the color spread over it but didn’t mix much. She also discovered that if she pinched the eye dropper really hard the watercolor made a hole in the shaving cream. color lab shaving cream

The oil was rad. She had no previous experience with water in oil.  color lab oil wowShe was amazed when they turned into little dots of color and slowly sank down to the bottom. I loved seeing her experience this for the first time. color lab oil

Time to play. After going through each liquid it was time to mix them all together. mxing  color lab science

The shaving cream didn’t pour as well as the water did. color lab science pretend play

Want more science ideas for little ones? Check out our Science for Kids Pinterest board.

30 Fun Ways To Teach Colors

teach colors preschoolOver the years I have been asked by more than a few parents and readers why we stress color recognition in early childhood education. It can seem like busy work and as adults we don’t really use this skill. But that’s not true at all, we do use the skills your little ones are using as they differentiate and recognize colors. Those skills develop as we develop and turn into letter recognition, recognizing sight words, and other higher level sorting. Just because this is important stuff and the building blocks for even more learning doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun! Sitting your kids down and getting them to memorize color names won’t offer them the opportunity to sort the same way a hands on activity will so have fun and the learning will happen.

Here are 30 ways to teach colors with fun hands on activities.

color mixing edit

Mix and Make Color Mixers
Mixing Colors In The Snow
Roll A Rainbow Game
Star Sensory Bin and Color Sorting
Colored Glue Exploration
color mixing with shaving cream 3
No Mess Shaving Cream Color Mixing
Make Your Own Finger Paint
Rainbow Playdough Match & Stick
Matching Nature Color Hunt
DIY Light Box & Color Exploration

craft for boys
Traffic Light Craft & Color Matching
Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub
Gross Motor Color Matching for Toddlers
Garbage Truck Color Sorting
Indoor Bug Hunt
Trash Rainbow Craft and Preschool Activity
Trash Rainbow Collage
Color Heart Sorting
Spin Art Rainbows
Creepy Crawly Color Sorting
Valentine Color Matching Mural
how to teach colors
Monochromatic Texture Collage
Feather Match
iPhone Photo Safari Color Hunt
Cork Painted Rainbow
Mess Free Color Mixing
color matching butterflies
Butterfly Color Matching
Multilingual Color Hunt
Color Mixing with Ice
Easter Egg & Bunny Color Match
Water Balloon Color Mixing

DIY Light Table

how to make a light table

While my son is at school I tend to use that time for errands and it’s really not fair to my toddler so today when I saw the extra string of Christmas lights I decided we’d have some fun exploring colors. This DIY light table should not be used for long periods of time, only with a parent right there at the box and please don’t let your kids touch the light strands as they have lead, and remember to wash your hands after touching them too. We only played for about 10 minutes and that was enough time for the lights to get warm so I wouldn’t play longer than that .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clear plastic container with lid, some wax paper, a strand of white christmas lights, scissors and tape. For the colors we used take and toss cup lids. No need to buy expensive color forms if you have something you can use at home already.
  2. Start by putting the lights on the lid, I taped them down in 2 places just so they were staionary in the box.
  3. Cut some wax paper and line the bottom so the light diffuses well.
  4. Close the lid with the cord sticking out – mine closed no problem but you could cut a notch out if you can’t close the lid with the cord out. comfortably ( you don’t want to run the risk of the cord being cut, my lid was very loose and didn’t press into the cord).
  5. Plug in and play.
  6. She LOVED it.
  7. Explore.
  8. We piled them on , identified them – I had no idea she knew so many colors, we had a blast.

Please only try activities that you feel are safe for your family, I share what we have made and done with the request that you will only make and do what your child is ready for and you can do safely.

Book About Colors For Babies

I Love Colors by Margaret Miller is one of my daughter’s favorite books. When we went to the library she started pulling the parenting books off the shelf because there are pictures of babies on the covers. The librarian was quick to notice and started finding us books with babies and this was one of the winners. We have now renewed this book twice and read it many many times a day. The book is super simple and each page shows a baby with a colored item like glasses, a hair bow etc… the photos are big and of real babies which if your toddler is like mine, makes a big difference.

Art Exploration With Colored Glue

My son loves creating with glue, and lately color mixing has become a popular request for art time so yesterday I decided to mix the two with a super simple activity that focuses on process not product.  I have colored glue before but never in the bottles, as you will see it minimizes the mess for the project but it didn’t minimize it for the prep. I have a few tips for prep so you can skip the multi colored hands I am sporting today. This is also the perfect time of year for a project

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white glue, food color and paper. My son chose black paper which depending on your child will be super cool or horribly disappointing. When the glue is dry you will see almost no color if you use black. We were focusing on the process so black was fine. I included a version made on orange paper below to see the results on lighter paper.
  2. Start by protecting your table, colored glue can be a bug to get off.  I made a simple mat from a brown paper grocery bag, and attached it to the table top with painters tape.
  3. Make your colored glue. Starting with glue bottles that are not full. I thought this was enough space but when I do this again I am going to use half full bottles.
  4. Add your food color. Here is where I messed up. I treated the glue like water expecting the food color to incorporate easily but of course it just sits on top. You need to mix it, add more, mix than add more.  If you don’t when you turn them upside down ( tip – do not turn it upside down until well mixed) the food color will dribble out and make a huge mess.
  5. And while panic mounts and you clean up your hands will end up like this.
  6. Instead use only half a bottle of glue and a chopstick(or kabob skewer) to mix. Adding a small amount at a time until it’s the color you want.
  7. Time to invite the small ones to explore. No instructions, just have fun.
  8. He mixed colors.
  9. Loved the vibrant colors, my blue stained hands were totally worth it.
  10. Dry .As you can imagine it doesn’t show up well on black. My son exclaimed “It’s spy glue!” It also takes a long time to dry- so find a good place for it to sit for a full day. 
  11. This is a quick design I made on orange paper and let dry, the glossy colors are so fun!

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.