Art Series: Secondary Colors

Previously posted on October 2, 2015 @

This is another lesson in the Art series that we started in this blog. We are currently focusing on the basic elements of Art and have covered LinesMore Lines, Shapes, Shapes Part 2Colors, Primary Colors.

I love mixing primary colors. Whether you use colored water (water with a few drops of food coloring), acrylic/poster or watercolor paint, you are bound to create those secondary colors.

You can also use chalk, chalk pastel, crayons or colored pencils.

Primary Colors: Red, Blue, Yellow

Secondary Colors:

  • Red + Blue = Purple (More commonly used that Violet nowadays)
  • Red + Yellow = Orange
  • Green + Blue =Green

I find using good quality tempera, poster or acrylic paint with bolder colors more fun and exciton, especially for younger children. It can be frustrating to use low quality paints or very washed-out watercolor in teaching how to make these secondary colors.

However, in the absence of these, mixing colored water or rubbing chalk/oil pastels can achieve the color transformation in a fairly, observable way.

Here is a sample activity from one of our favorite Art resources for the primary years, Evan-Moor’s manual on How To Teach Art to Children. This resource is also available in electronic version(e-book).

Page from Evan Moor’s How To Teach Art

The simplest way to show this transformation is through the following steps:

Using this template and poster paint, fill the three circles with the 3 primary colors. Older kids can use chalk /oil pastel, water-colored pencils or crayons as they can rub more evenly and patiently to achieve the secondary colors.

Or you may use this too:

Then, using a mixing palette, mix red with blue, red with yellow and blue with yellow to achieve the secondary colors purple/violet, orange and green. Guide the children in adding more of the primary colors to achieve the desired secondary color. Fill in the right areas in the color wheel.

Here are other COLOR Experiments done by kids (ages 5-6 years old) using the reproducibles from Evan Moor’s How to Teach  Art to Children:

I always like connecting various lessons from different subjects, So for this lesson, depending on the ages of your student, you may opt to stretch this lesson to include:

Bible lessons on the Creation Story, Noah and the rainbow after the Great Flood, Joseph the Dreamer and his colorful coat. Try to google templates for Joseph’s Dreamcoat or Noah’s rainbow.

For Science, some ideas could be the Color Spectrum, or even how to make your own Natural Dyes.

We did this many quarters ago.

It wasn’t that easy to make dyes from fruits/ vegetables.
It will take some trial and error. That’s Science!

For Language, you can do a lesson on <strong>Similes</strong> and teach your children how to create similes using the different colors: “yellow as lemon. black as charcoal, green as grass, red like fire. blue like the sky”. Make poems about the colors.

Social Studies: You may decide to study about <strong>flags</strong>. Begin with your country’s flag. Discuss the symbolism with the figures and colors used. Choose other countries for discussion. You can even challenge the kids to design and create a flag of a make-believe country,

History: History of Dye Making

Filipino: Color terms of Filipino (Tagalog) and how they are properly used

Red- Pula (as an adjective) or mapula, or pupula/ pumula (as verbs)

Reading: Younger Children will enjoy the following.

  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Little Blue and  Little Yellow
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon,
  • Seven Blind Mice
  • Freight Train
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • A Color of His Own

Isn’t the lesson on COLORS simply endless and exciting?? Go ahead and have a colorful homeschooling lesson soon!

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