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Lesson 8: 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 happens when we add white to a color? What is a tint?

  • 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!” 
  • Review removing the lids off of the soufflé cups.
  • “What happened when we mixed white with blue?” 
  • “What happened when we mixed white with yellow?”
  • “What happened when we mixed white with red?”
  • “What color should make now?” Model making green, orange and/or purple. 
  • Review brush washing song every time you change colors!
  • Review drying the brush on the sponge
  • 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.
  • “What do you think we call these colors?” Tints or pastels.

Step 2: Work-time

  • Invite 3-4 students to the art center. 
  • Encourage them 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. 
  • Each student has her 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. 
  • Encourage students to try mixing white into each of the primary colors. 
  • Encourage students to mix colors to make green, orange and purple and to add white into each color combination.
  • 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

“Which is your favorite color? Does anyone have a questions or comment for the artist?”


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