Paint Your Kid's Imaginations With Color Theory: A Guide To Follow!

Published 29 May 2023 at 18:38

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Paint Your Kid's Imaginations With Color Theory: A Guide To Follow!

Colors play a vital role in stimulating a child's imagination and creativity. And understanding the principles of color theory can help you unlock a world of possibilities for your child's artistic endeavors. Learning color theory can also enhance the eye for art and design and make your kids more aware of the colors around them.

In this blog post, we will explore some key concepts of color theory for kids, such as the basics of color theory, mixing colors, color wheel, primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, warm and cool colors, complementary colors, and more! We will also discuss some fun activities you can do with your kids to help them practice and apply what they learn. So, here is how you can paint your kid’s imaginations with color theory!

The Basics of Color Theory

Before we delve into the practical aspects, we must first understand the basics of color theory. There are two types of color mixing: additive and subtractive.

Additive color mixing combines different light colors to create new colors. For example, you get a yellow light when you mix red and green lights. Subtractive color mixing is when you combine different pigment colors to create new colors. Mix red and yellow to get orange.

Types of Color

Here are the types of colors based on their composition:

1. Primary Colors

Primary colors are colors that cannot be made by mixing other colors. They are red, blue, and yellow for subtractive color mixing (paints) and red, green, and blue for additive color mixing (lights).

2. Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are colors that are made by combining two primary colors. They are orange, green, and violet for subtractive color mixing (paints) and yellow, cyan, and magenta for additive color mixing (lights).

3. Tertiary Colors

The tertiary colors are the colors that are made by combining a primary color and a secondary color. They are blue-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet, and red-violet for subtractive color mixing (paints), and orange, chartreuse, spring green, azure, violet, and rose for additive color mixing (lights).


1. How To Mix Purple Color

Purple color is one of our favorites, and most kids are curious about how to mix purple color. Purple is a secondary color created by mixing blue and red.

But remember that not all shades of blue and red will produce a nice purple. Some will result in a muddy brown or gray instead. The trick is to use the right proportions and hues of blue and red. Mixing purple perfectly will take some tries, but it’s well worth it!

2. How to Mix Orange Color With Food Coloring

To make an orange color, fill a cup with water, add some yellow coloring, and stir well. Then add some red coloring to the water and stir well until you get orange coloring. Add more yellow if you want a lighter orange coloring or more red if you want a darker orange food coloring.

Tips and Examples for Color Mixing

Mixing colors is a fun and creative activity that can help kids learn about color theory and improve their artistic skills. Kids can discover new shades and tints, create different moods and effects, and express their imagination by mixing colors.

Here are some tips and examples for color mixing that you can try with your kids:

  1. To make the color lighter, add white to it. This is called making a tint of the color. As an example, you can add white to red and make pink.
  2. To make the color darker, add black to it. This is called making a shade of color. As an example, you can add black to blue to produce navy.
  3. To make the color less saturated or intense, add gray to it. This is called making a tone of the color. As an example, you can add gray to green and make olive.
  4. To make a warm color (a color that reminds you of fire or the sun), mix it with red or yellow. For example, mixing orange with red makes vermilion.
  5. To make a cool color (a color that reminds you of water or the sky), mix it with blue or green. For example, mixing violet with blue makes indigo.
  6. To make a neutral color (a color that is neither warm nor cool), mix two complementary colors together. For example, mixing green and red makes brown.

Common Painting Materials

You can mix colors with different materials depending on what you have available and what you want to create. Here are some common materials that you can use for color mixing:


You can use acrylic paints, watercolor paints, tempera paints, or any other paints you have at home. You will also need a palette (a flat surface where you can mix your paints), a brush, water, paper, or canvas.


You can use crayons of any brand or type, and you will also need paper (to draw on) and wax paper (to cover your drawing).

Food coloring

If you want to use food coloring, you can do that too, but in that case, you will need water, cups or bowls, spoons (to stir your water), and paper towels or coffee filters.

The Color Wheel

It is a circular diagram that shows how colors are related to each other. It is a useful chart that helps identify how colors work together. There are different types of color wheels, but the most common one is based on the three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow.

Primary colors are standalone colors that can’t be produced by combining other colors. They are the building blocks of all other colors. By combining two primary colors together, we can create secondary colors: green (yellow + blue), orange (red + yellow), and purple (blue + red).

Combining a primary color with a secondary color creates tertiary colors: blue-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, yellow-green, blue-purple, and red-purple.

You can make a color wheel with your kids using paint, colored pencils, or markers.

Start by drawing a circle and dividing it into 12 equal sections. Then fill in each section with one of the primary, secondary, or tertiary colors. Make sure to follow the order of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. You can also label each color with its name.

Warm and Cool Colors

Another way to classify colors is by their temperature: warm or cool. Warm colors are the ones that remind us of fire, sun, or heat, such as red, yellow, and orange. Cool colors are the ones that make us think of water, sky, or ice, such as blue, green, and purple.

Warm colors tend to entice a feeling of excitement, energy, or happiness. They can also make things appear closer or larger. Whereas cool colors tend to entice a feeling of calmness, relaxation, or a slight melancholic vibe. And they can also make things appear further or smaller.

Sorting different objects by their color temperature can be a fun activity to do with your kids! You can use toys, clothes, books, or anything else that has different colors. Make two piles: one for warm colors and one for cool colors. Then ask your kids to explain why they chose each pile and how they feel about each color.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. Red and green are complementary colors because they are on opposite sides of the wheel. Other pairs of complementary colors are orange and blue, yellow and purple.

Complementary colors create a strong contrast when placed next to each other. They can make each other appear brighter and more vivid. They can also create a sense of balance and harmony in a composition.

One thing you can do with your kid is make complementary color collages together for fun! You will need some paper in different complementary colors (or you can paint your own), scissors, glue, magazines, or newspapers. Cut out different shapes from the paper in complementary colors and glue them on a larger sheet of paper.

You can also cut out images or words from magazines or newspapers that match your chosen colors. Try to fill up the whole sheet with different patterns and textures.

Some Useful Tips for Painting With Kids

Painting with kids can be a lot of fun but can also be messy sometimes. Here are some tips we've compressed down for you as they will make your painting sessions more enjoyable:

  • Cover your work area with newspaper or plastic sheets to prevent spills.
  • Use washable paints that are easy to clean up with water.
  • Get your kid brushes that are suitable for kids' hands and skill levels.
  • Use paper plates or plastic lids as palettes for mixing paints.
  • Use water cups with lids or spill-proof containers to avoid accidents.
  • Put on aprons or old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
  • Keep some paper towels or rags around; they'll be handy for wiping brushes or spills.
  • Get some snacks and drinks ready for breaks.
  • Play some music in the background for inspiration.
  • And most importantly, HAVE FUN!


Color theory is an amazing topic that can spark your kid's imagination and creativity. By learning some basic concepts of color theory, such as how to mix colors, the color wheel, primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, warm and cool colors, and complementary colors, they can create beautiful artworks that express their feelings and ideas.

We hope this blog post has given you a couple of very thoughtful ideas and tips on teaching color theory to kids and having fun with them while painting. Let your child play around with those paintbrushes and see their imagination soar.

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