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Lesson 7: Three Color Mixing and Adding White

….As the child’s conception of line, shape and color grows…their capacity for selecting and organizing these elements also increases.”

– Nancy Smith


Grade Level

3 & 4 year olds

Media Theme/ Big Idea

Painting Explorations: Tints

Essential Question

What colors can we make with red, blue and yellow? What colors can we make if we use all three colors together?

  • Unit & Lessons
  • Teaching Guide

Materials and Tools

  • 18” x 24” white paper 80#
  • Red paint in soufflé cup
  • Blue paint in soufflé cup
  • Yellow paint in soufflé cup
  • White paint in soufflé cup
  • 1” brush 
  • Water in deli cup
  • Sponge
  • Tray


Step 1: Invitation to Explore

  • “What colors did we create/make last week?” 
  • “What do you see on my tray this week?” 
  • “We have yellow, blue, red and white! What do think will happen when we mix white in the blue?” 
  • Review removing the lids off of the soufflé cups.
  • “Let’s see what will happen when we mix white with the yellow?” 
  • “What happened? It became lighter!”
  • Model mixing white with blue and red.
  • “What color should make now?” Model making green, orange and/or purple. 
  • Model adding white to each of the colors.
  • “What colors are we making?”
  • “Light yellow…what can we call this color?” Lemon yellow. 
  • Light orange….peach
  • Light purple…lavender or lilac
  • Explain that you are making tints or pastels.
  • Model cleaning the brush and drying it on the sponge. (Explain how important it is to dry the brush.) Review brush cleaning song.
  • Review drying the brush on the sponge

Step 2: Work-time

  • Invite 3-4 students to the art center. 
  • Encourage students to stand or sit, whichever is more comfortable for them so that they can use their whole arm as they move the brush on the paper. 
  • Review removing lids off of soufflé cups.
  • Each student has his own tray with a cup of red, blue, yellow, and white paint, a brush, deli cup with water and a sponge. 
  • Remind students to wash their brushes between dipping into each color. Review brush washing song.
  • Encourage students to mix colors to make green, orange and purple and to add white into each color combination.
  • You will need to be fully present at the table until the students have internalized the brush washing routine into their approach to painting.
  • Comment on the many colors the students are creating and how they are moving their brushes to create patches/areas of color.

Step 3: Reflection

“_______ made many different colors! What colors do you see?”
“How do you think _________made these colors?”


Paintbrush, handle, bristle, mixing, add, blend, light, dark, lighter, darker, top, bottom, corner, middle, tint, pastel, lavender, lilac, peach