Kidaptive Blog

Experimenting with color mixing


Although understanding color properties might seem like it’s just about knowing how to make one color from two different colors, experiments with color properties are actually some of children’s first explorations of generating and testing hypotheses.

Developing a knowledge of color properties involves comparing and contrasting colors, making connections between past experiences and present stimuli, and exploring cause-and-effect relationships through combining colors. This week, invite your learner to take part in this tangible experience of flexible and abstract thinking!


  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Clear cups or bowls
  • Eye droppers or spoons
  • A few pieces of paper


  1. Set your child up in a place where it’s OK to make a bit of a mess!
  2. Give them a few cups of different colored water and a few empty cups.
  3. Encourage your child to experiment with mixing colors together in the empty cups. They can transfer small amounts of water from the full cups to the empty ones by pouring or by using the spoons or eye droppers. They can also use the eye droppers or spoons to put some of the water onto the paper to see what happens.
  4. Ask your child what will happen when they mix two particular colors. Then test out their hypothesis. What color does the water turn?
  5. Do the same with three colors. What color does your child think the water will turn? What color does it actually turn?

Helpful Hints:

  • Adding just a couple inches of water to each cup will help minimize spills.
  • Putting a baking sheet or casserole dish under the cups of water will also help with spill protection.

Allowing kids to explore colors through hands-on activities like this one helps reinforce their understanding of the relationships among different colors while sharpening their thinking skills!

We would love to hear your thoughts on this activity, as well as suggestions on future topics to cover! Please leave a comment.