Even though many of our lessons throughout the year incorporate different lessons on color theory, we have to start somewhere with our youngest students.
Some of the best times I can remember in the art room with my youngest students were during our first color lessons. Seeing the fun experimentation and pure enjoyment as they discover how colors mix has to put a smile on your face. It wasn't uncommon during these classes that I would look up and see the classroom teacher at the door because we lost track of time.
I like using hands-on ways of introducing the concept of Primary colors and how they mix to make new colors. One of the ways I have done this in the past handfuls of years is with an activity I call Color Handshakes.
The next class we continued the color explorations.
Students were given the three primary colors of tempera paint and a short demonstration on how to use the paint and paintbrush properly. They were left to mix and explore all they wanted. A big 12x18 paper provided lots of room for exploration. A smaller brush (regular watercolor set size) allowed for time to be focused on smaller areas instead of a big mess of washes of color.
As students were working, I would periodically ask what colors they were seeing. It was fun to observe their conversations. One student would look over and ask another how they got a certain color. They were always excited to share what they did to get that color.
Theresa Gillespie spent over 20 years teaching Art in the Moline School District in Illinois. She has a BA degree in Art Education and a MEd degree in Education & Technology. She also is a graduate level instructor for The Art of Education