Mouse Painting (Color Mixing)

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Students will learn about color mixing after reading the book, Mouse Paint.

By Kim Swanger [Kim is a teacher at Lakeview & Central in Council Bluffs, Iowa]

Art is a part of everything. Literacy and art make a great marriage of the two things young children are attracted to most: stories and kinesthetic experiences.

What You Need:

  • large pieces of white paper
  • tempera in primary colors (combine with a small amount of liquid fabric starch to cut drying time)
  • copy of the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh

What You Do:

  1. Read the book Mouse Paint to students.
  2. Make note of how the mice in the story mix colors and make new colors.
  3. Ask students to predict the new colors the mice will make.
  4. When the book is finished, divide children into groups of three like the 3 mice in the story.
  5. Tell the students they now get to be the mice in the story as you make “puddles” of yellow, blue and red paint on the large pieces of white paper.
  6. Explain that their two fingers are mouse feet and they should “dance” in the puddles like the mice in the story.
  7. Emphasize that they need ONLY two fingers to dance.
  8. Observe as the students create secondary colors and ask them how they managed to make new colors.
  9. When dry, hang the pictures on the wall.
  10. Refer to them whenever you need to address how colors are made.

This is a somewhat messy project but it is a high-quality learning experience that the children will long remember. I’ve used this with preschool, kindergarten and 1st grade students but ALWAYS with a sink or a bucket of water!

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