Make: a colour mixing, colour battle!

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The boys have become very interested in colour mixing, the 4yo recently experimented with mixing primary colours in paint.

Last weekend my oldest asked if he could have a colour battle. He wanted to see which colour would win when a selection of colours were slowly mixed into water. Resisting the temptation to say brown, we set up the experiment. Using food colouring, the boys put a few drops of red, blue, yellow and green into the corners of a tub full of water.

It was surprisingly beautiful! So much so that one of the images became my Silent Sunday for last week :)


The food colouring sank and each pool of colour remained fairly cohesive initially before slowly expanding and touching the other colours. The colours swirled around each other for a while, not quite mixing. In fact you could see layers of colour in some spots. It was very interesting to watch how the food colouring reacted in the water. The boys were intrigued, as was I to be honest!

But, it wasn’t long before they both grew impatient and wanted to see the colours mixing. A few sloshes of the tub later and the colours were starting to interact a bit more. Swathes of purple appeared first. The green and yellow remained strong.

A few more sloshes and the first hints of brown started to appear. The green however remained very strong. A winner as far as my oldest was concerned!

A few more drops of red and blue were added (just because they could!) and the inevitable result appeared: brown :)

Simple, colourful fun. The boys loved it and it was far more interesting than I was expecting. The interaction between the food colouring and the water was fascinating, the layers of colour in particular. A very quick and easy activity!

4 thoughts on “Make: a colour mixing, colour battle!”

  1. Interesting to see the end result as well as last week’s image.

    I’m not a good one for not spoiling the ending for kids – it was great that you let them see through to the end of the experiment by himself. It’s really important that they get to discover things for themselves – it’s me that’s too impatient.

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