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.

Water Balloon Color Mixing- Outside Art Project

If you combine water balloons with art you’ll get this super fun summer activity!  Right after my son turned 4 all of a sudden his finger took the shape of a gun, his pretend play switched from firefighters to police, bad guys and super heroes and my sanity got a little more fragile. I am a born pacifist so it’s taken me some time to acclimatize to bombs, blasters and such. One way that we have addressed it in our house is you guessed it, art and play.  A project like this that channels the aggression and need for destruction was the answer for us. It was also fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a container, a canvas, water color crayons ( or washable markers), and a kid ready to blast a few things.
  2. Start by coloring the canvas with water color crayons – washable markers will work too, just use darker more vibrant colors.
  3. Fill up some balloons.
  4. Go outside.
  5. Throw!  My son was adamant that he could throw it at it and had fun even though none of the first round of balloons hit it, although some were really close.
  6. Dropping them worked way better!
  7. Check out how the canvas has changed! 
  8. A few days later we tried adding washable marker.
  9. Blasted it with water “shooters”- liquid syringes since we were all out of water balloons, after I told him we could go blast some, luckily this was available and just as “cool”.
  10. Worked great.
  11. Let dry – pull out again and again, I think we are going to do this many more times for the rest of the summer. The layers of color will be so cool.

* As with every craft please make sure you only do crafts that you and your child can do safely. Broken balloons can be very dangerous for kids who are still putting things in their mouths. Please ensure all pieces are picked up and disposed of so we can all keep playing and creating. *

Make Green Food For St.Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. You can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without eating something green and we know how easy that can be with little kids. One way to encourage healthy eating is to play with food, make up recipes and taste test!  So we made these super easy green popscicles that are all natural , no food coloring and we even  had fun playing test kitchen trying a few times to make the color green.

Attempt #1


Ingredients: We opened the fridge and looked for blue and yellow ingredients. We settled on blueberries and lemonade.  You and I both know that it won’t blend to green but as long as the waste isn’t too much let your kids experiment. As soon as my son poured in the lemonade he could see that this was not the mix we needed. It was super tasty though and I blended it and drank it!

Attempt #2


Ingredients : We went back to the fridge and grabbed the spinach. I suggested the yogurt ( vanilla or lemon would make it yummier) and we tried again.

Blended.

Strained the big spinach out.

Froze it

Taste test – he loved it! It tasted like watery lemon to me, if you are going for tasty – add a ripe banana and like mentioned above use vanilla or lemon yogurt. These green treats we made a few years ago were great.

The point of this activity was the process of  trial and error, color mixing and having fun with healthy food!

Ice Fishing and Color Mixing !

To tell you the truth I didn’t plan this activity, I saw the fishing net , wanted to do something with it and didn’t have much for my son to catch so instead I made some ice.  To make it more fun we colored the ice, then to make it more educational we made them red and yellow to create orange ! It was a big hit and not as big a mess as I feared .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a bin or tub, a ice cube tray , food coloring , a fish net ( or soup ladle) and water. You will also need plain ice for the second part.
  2. Start by putting a few drops of food coloring in your ice tray – half one color, half the other. 
  3. Add water and freeze.
  4. Fill your tub with water – ours was too warm, the ice melted so quickly the color mixing was fast. When I do it again I will use cold water so it’s a slower mix.
  5. When ice firm, show it to your child and tell them you are going to put it in the water. Ask them to make a prediction about what will happen to the ice when it is in the water, what will happen to the water ?  Pop it in!
  6. Mix and catch with net.
  7. Pop in more plain ice to “fish” – my son had fun with the color mixing but the extension of the activity was the real fun.

Finger painting with a twist

finger painting

Taking old standards and finding ways to make them fresh and new is something I have always relied on in classrooms and at home with my son. This activity was a big hit, simple and allowed him to make whatever he wanted. I kid you not when he started painting he said ” It’s just abstract.”  I have been lounging  in bed with my art books a lot and someone likes to cuddle and look at the pictures with me , glad to know he’s listening.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paints, a dish, paper and an exfoliating glove or mitt. finger painting
  2. Put the paint on the dish.
  3. Get your glove on , this took some time but try not to offer help unless they ask.  I step in too early and need to work on that or my son will be 12 and I will still be putting his shoes on.finger painting
  4. Dip into the paint. finger painting
  5. Go for it. finger painting My son decided that smacking the paper hard was his technique , there is no wrong way. The glove did get stuck to the paper a few times but no biggie. finger painting Also the glove made really cool sounds when he scrapped it against the paper. I loved all the different senses that came into play during this activity. finger painting

Books About Colors

Hello, Red Fox

Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle is a fun interactive book about colors and the color wheel. Kids will love the “trick” on each page. The trick being that if you stare at a color for long enough then stare at a blank page the complimentary color will appear! This book is great, but not for a group, a class will disintegrate into “Let me!!” and “My turn!” quickly so this is really is best read one on one!

Little Blue and Little Yellow is a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob! You’ll be surprised by how easily your preschooler will pick up on the connection between the two. In my PreK class I had more than a few kids make the connection all on their own.

Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a clever book each page offers a sneak peek at what it next, which my son thought was genius and I have to agree. Soon my son was making his own predictions about what object would be revealed when we turned the page. The book offered so many chances for me to step in and ask my son questions about what we were reading without stalling the momentum of the book.