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Mixing Purple


In this activity, you will explore painting with red and blue and mix a new color—purple!

Grade Level

Pre-K, Kindergarten



  • Video


  • Red and blue tempera paints in cups
  • Water in a cup
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge
  • Paper


Let’s look at what you have to paint with today:

  • A paintbrush. It has bristles on one side—these are the little hairs that carry the paint. The other side has a handle to hold the paintbrush.
  • Water to clean the brush
  • A sponge to dry the brush
  • Red and blue paint. These are two of the primary colors.
  • Paper to paint on

Do you know why the primary colors are special? We can mix them together to make new colors!

Let’s try mixing two of the primary colors together!

Dip your brush into the red paint—not too much, just the tip. Paint some red on your paper.

Now, rinse your brush in the water. You can say: “1, 2, 3, stop” as you rinse. Then, dry your brush on the sponge.

Now that your brush is clean, you can add some blue next to the red. What happens when they meet? It makes purple! If it’s not quite purple, you can keep mixing and add more blue or more red.

I wonder if you can make a different kind of purple. Rinse your brush, then see what happens if you add more blue to the purple. It makes a darker purple!

I wonder how you can make a lighter purple. Maybe you can add more red.

You made purple! Purple is one of the secondary colors!


Point to one color on your painting.

How did you mix that color?


Mixing Purple
Written by Andrea Burgay, Associate Director

Lesson Development
Julie Applebaum, Senior Director
Sassy Kohlmeyer, Director of Early Childhood Programs

Studio in a School NYC
Hasna Muhammad, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Studio in a School Association
Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio in a School NYC

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