Red + Blue = Purple

Beach Girl is very interested in favorite colors lately.  She tells us at least 10 times daily: “purple is my favorite color!” and generously doles out items of our favorite colors to each of her family members.  She brings me blue Legos, shaker eggs, pieces of paper, crayons, and stickers often and each time tells me “Here’s blue for you. Blue is your favorite color.” Then, she takes red to Beach Dad and yellow to Beach Baby (we’ve decided that must be Beach Baby’s favorite color because she eats so. many. bananas.) and reminds them it’s their favorite color too.

I thought it would be fun to teach Beach Girl more about how colors work and to start to introduce the basic ideas of primary and secondary colors.

how to mix colors

When Beach Girl painted recently, I gave her only 3 colors of paint, much to her chagrin.  She said “but I want lots of colors and I want to have purple.”

I leaned in really closely and whispered to her that I had a big secret… “I am going to tell you a big secret.  Are you ready for it? I am only giving you three colors – red, blue, and yellow – but, if you work really hard and get creative, you’ll be able to make even more colors by mixing them.  And, somehow, you’ll be able to make purple. Can you do it?”

She excitedly accepted the challenge and started experimenting with the different color combinations: “what happens if I mix yellow and blue? OH! It makes green!”

And finally, she figured out how to make purple and was absolutely delighted.  “I made purple!!!!! That is my favorite color!” (Are you catching a theme to my days here?)

Then, she started singing a song about “If you mix blue and red, it makes purple.”  It sounded very Barney-esque, so I’m guessing Barney has already worked with her on these color combinations. (Barney is what gets me extra sleep some mornings, so I only hear his songs when she sings them to me later in the day.)

But, Barney or not, I was surprised at how quickly she caught on how to mix colors and I love the finished product of her experimenting.  It was a great reminder to me, too, that learning is much more fun for her when she can freely explore and make the discovery on her own!

teaching primary colors

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