Colour Mixing Rainbows


Learn about colour mixing and paint a beautiful rainbow. We’ll talk about primary and secondary colours and how to mix them, then how to paint a colourful rainbow on paper.

To join in you’ll need:

Water pot
Paper towel

Make sure your little one has their old clothes and an apron on. Cover the table with plastic or newspaper if they are messy workers!


Approximate run time: 12 minutes

Presenter: Laura and Amelie Kemshall

This is a great activity to introduce children to the ideas around colour and simple colour mixing. Here are our tips:

  • First set up your space, you’ll probably want to cover the table with newspaper or an old shower curtain works brilliantly and you can reuse it for all your creative activities.
  • If you don’t have a paint palette, reuse yoghurt pots or other small plastic pots.
  • I’m a big believer in giving kids proper tools to use, they’ll paint better if you give them a decent paint brush. But brushes don’t have to be expensive. Look for synthetic bristles, a round size 10 or 12 brush will be perfect.

Yellow + red = orange, yellow + blue =green, red + blue = purple.

Tip: Yellow is really easily overwhelmed by the other colours so when making an mix that includes it, always start with yellow and add the other colour in small amounts gradually.

If you have paint left over, older kids might like to paint a colour wheel. You can draw around a plate to make a circle on paper and then divide it into six segments. Or if you have one, a paper plate can work great as a colour wheel! Colour wheels can teach us a lot about colour, that’s something we’ll have to come back to another time.

If your child is keeping a sketchbook, or a home school diary, then they might choose to paint some colour swatches in there, maybe make some observational notes alongside. What colours did they use, what did they notice as they mixed them? Did anything turn out differently to what they had expected?

If you still have paint leftover, or you don’t fancy doing the colour wheel, just paint some paper. When dry, these’ll be really useful for other art and craft activities like collage.

When your rainbow is dry maybe you’ll display it in your window or on your bedroom wall. Great work everyone!