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Toddler Activities: Using Tempera to Explore White and Primary Colors

Toddler Activities using Paint are a great way for a child to express him or herself and learn about and colors at the same time.

white with red paint DESCRIPTION

Using just two or colors and various sponges or brushes can teach your child how white can change a primary color. Great beginning paint activity. My children did this activity at an art class at 26 months.


  • Tempera Washable Paint 1 Primary Colors and White Paint
  • 1 or 2 Brushes
  • White Paper (construction, scrapbook, cardstock or even sketch paper)
  • Paint containers(small cups or plastic pallette which you can find for about a $1 at craft stores)
  • Small water container for rinsing brush.

    1. Select colors to be used.
    2. Place each color in a palette.

    3. Add some white and mix and let your child paint. Add more white and let your child continue painting.


  • Having a brush for each color makes it easier to monitor for younger toddlers.

    Variations With White
    white with blue paint
    Create a series of paintings for each primary color. Display the pictures up on a bulletin board or wall and print out color names in the respective color and tape or pin them next to the picture. (Blue and White make Light Blue, Red and White make Pink)


  • Painting is a great way to help develop fine motor skills as well as a great visual way to reinforce color recognition.

  • Discuss how white will lighten the main color. Make predictions about what will happen when you add more white to the main color.

  • Labelling the colors as suggested in the Other Ideas section are a great way to visually reinforce color words.

  • primary-secondary color chart
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