Printables Interactive

What is Teaching Color?

Teaching color involves educating children about different colors, how they can be mixed to create new ones, their various meanings, and effects. It goes beyond just recognizing and naming colors. It includes understanding the relationships between colors, how they can be used to communicate, and how they relate to other areas of learning.

Why is Teaching Color Important?

Understanding colors helps students enhance their observational skills, develop vocabulary, and understand symbolic meanings. In art, understanding colors is crucial for creating visually engaging and expressive artworks. Furthermore, color knowledge can be applied to other subjects like science (light spectrum, plant colors), math (sorting by color), and even language arts (color idioms).

Strategies for Teaching Colors

  • Start with Basic Colors: Begin by introducing the basic colors: red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, and white. Use objects in the classroom or pictures to make the learning process more interactive. You could ask students to identify the colors of various items in the room, or use colored flashcards for a matching game.
  • Introduce the Color Wheel: The color wheel is a powerful tool that shows the relationship between colors. Explain primary colors (red, blue, yellow), secondary colors (colors created by mixing two primary colors), and tertiary colors (colors created by mixing primary and secondary colors). This visual tool can help students understand how colors relate to each other and how they can create new colors. A hands-on activity could involve students making their own color wheels using paints or colored pencils.
  • Teach Color Mixing: Demonstrate how new colors can be made by combining primary colors. This activity can be a fascinating experiment for young learners as they discover that they can create a whole palette from just three colors. For instance, you could mix blue and yellow paint to show how green is made.
  • Discuss Warm and Cool Colors: Warm colors (red, orange, yellow) are associated with energy, warmth, and excitement, while cool colors (blue, green, purple) are linked with calm, soothing, and peaceful feelings. Discussing this can help students understand how colors can evoke different emotions and moods. You could ask students to create art pieces using either warm or cool colors to express certain emotions.


  • Color Scavenger Hunt: Organize a scavenger hunt where students have to find objects of a particular color in the classroom or outdoors. This game helps students recognize colors in their environment, and it’s a fun and interactive way to learn about colors.
  • Color Mixing Art Projects: Let students experiment with color mixing on their own with finger paints. They can explore how different colors blend and create new ones. This hands-on activity not only teaches about primary and secondary colors but also encourages creativity and experimentation.
  • Color Collage: Ask students to cut out pictures of a certain color from magazines and create a collage. For example, they could make a blue collage with pictures of the sky, ocean, blueberries, etc. This reinforces color recognition and also develops fine motor skills. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle old magazines!
  • Colorful Storytelling: Read books that focus on colors. Stories like ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle use repetitive and colorful imagery to teach colors. After reading, you can have a discussion or do a craft related to the book.