Exploring Primary Colors with Tempera Paint


Using just two or three colors and various sponges or brushes can teach your child about primary and secondary colors. Great beginning paint activity my children did at an art class at 2 years of age.
Primary Colors using Tempera paints


  • Tempera Washable Paint 2 Primary Colors (See chart below to see what two colors you would like to mix.)
  • 2-3 Brushes
  • White Paper (construction, scrapbook, card stock or water color paper)
  • Paint containers(small cups or plastic palette which you can find for about a $1 at craft stores)
  • Water container for rinsing brush.


  • Select colors to be used.
  • Place each color in a palette.
  • Have your child explore with the colors. Encourage using one color and then adding the second.


  • Having a brush for each color makes it easier to monitor.
  • Use a dish that has some weight to hold the water for young children to keep from tipping

Other Ideas

Red + Blue = Purple

Make a painting for each combo of primary colors. 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 print in blue letters, red in red letters,etc.)

Educational Tip

  • Painting is a great way to help develop fine motor skills as well as a great visual way to reinforce color recognition.
  • Make predictions about what will happen when you mix the two colors.
  • Labeling the colors as suggested in the Other Ideas section are a great way to visually reinforce color words.