Your child will learn all about color mixing with the help of some food coloring and vanilla frosting! The color wheel focuses on the primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, as well as complimentary colors, and how to find them, based on their location on the wheel. Along with baking some tasty cupcakes, your child will mix together food coloring to create colorful cupcakes – just like a color wheel!
Get out a box of your favorite cake mix and invite your child to read as much as she can of the directions for making the mix. Help her with any words she can't quite read herself.
Have her lightly grease a muffin tin or line it with cupcake liners. Watch as she fills each cup about ¾ full and then help her carefully place it in the preheated oven. Don’t forget to set the timer for the recommended amount of time!
While the cupcakes are baking and then cooling, talk to your child about the color wheel. You can use the Internet to find examples as well as more information about the purpose of a color wheel.
Offer your child a sheet of white paper and a set of watercolor paints. Encourage her to create a color wheel on her paper, starting by drawing a triangle using a ruler and pencil.
Now have her paint a circle of red paint at the top of the triangle, yellow at one corner, and blue at the other. Next, she can experiment by mixing the colors to create the secondary colors—orange, green and purple—placing the colors in the correct spots!
It’s time to make the colorful frosting! Have your third grader get out the vanilla frosting along with the red, yellow, and blue food coloring. Help her measure 1/3 of the frosting into one bowl, 1/3 into another. Leave the last 1/3 in the can.
Invite her to mix 5-10 drops of red food coloring into the container, 5-10 drops of yellow into one bowl, and 5-10 drops of blue to the final bowl. Encourage her to mix the bowls of frosting well to evenly distribute the food coloring.
Now she can frost three of her cupcakes with the primary colors, and then mix small amounts of the primary colors together to create the secondary colors and frost three more cupcakes!
The rest of the colorful frosting can be mixed to create even more exciting colors and used for frosting the rest of the cupcakes. Now, all that’s left is to invite some friends over to taste-test!
Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.