Rainbows Day 3: Color Wheel

For the third day of our Rainbow Unit Study we learned that the rainbow colors make up the artist’s color wheel.  We learned about primary colors, secondary colors, and complementary colors.  We did some color mixing science and made some more yummy rainbow snacks. I also introduced a fun sensory tub today.

The Color Wheel


Primary Color-Red, yellow and blue. Primary colors are the 3 colors that can not be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are made from these 3 hues.

Secondary Colors-Green, orange and purple. These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.

Complementary colors- are any two colors which are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green.

Read: Take a Walk on a Rainbow by Miriam Moss

Comprehension Questions:

  1. What are the primary colors? Red, Yellow, Blue
  2. What are the secondary colors? Green, Orange, Purple
  3. How can you easily find complementary colors on the color wheel? The are opposite each other.

Painting A Color Wheel

I printed off this Color Wheel and let the children paint it with the colors in the correct order.IMG_0557 IMG_0558 IMG_0560

Color Mixing


Ask your child if he has ever heard the word “hypothesis” before. Explain that “hypothesis” is a special word that scientists use for “an idea that you can test.” A hypothesis is a kind of prediction. Explain that when someone makes a hypothesis, he or she uses clues to make a guess about something. Give some examples, such as, “If I drop this basketball on the floor, my hypothesis is that it will bounce.” Or, “When I see dark clouds in the sky, I have a hypothesis that it will rain soon.” Encourage your child to come up with a simple hypothesis or two.  How can we test your hypothesis?

Show a color wheel to look at and discuss. What are the primary colors (red, yellow, blue). Ask them what there hypothesis is about mixing red and yellow? It will make orange. What about yellow and blue? It will make green. What about red and blue? It will make purple.


  • White ice cube tray
  • water
  • red, yellow, and blue food coloring
  • 6 clear jars
  • Eye dropper
  1. Fill the ice cube tray with water.
  2. Add 1 drop of one color to each section (make some red, yellow, and blue). IMG_0570
  3. Put it in the freezer at least an hour before the activity.
  4. Fill 6 clear cups with water. Add the red, yellow, and blue food coloring to the cups, one color per cup.
  5. Do you think we can make all the colors of the rainbow with only these three primary colors.
  6. Take out the ice cubes and let them know that they are the same 3 colors that are in the cups, the primary colors.
  7. What do you think will happen if we put a red ice cube into a yellow cup?
  8. Drop it in, then stir. Orange!
  9. What do you think will happen if we added blue to yellow? Green!
  10. Next try red and blue, which makes the purple.
  11. Then the children will want to see what would happen when we mixed all the colors and make brown.
  12. Line up the colors in order and said.. We made all the colors of the rainbow!
  1. Use the red, yellow, and blue cup of colored water to play with.
  2. Use the eye dropper to add the primary colors of water to each section in the ice tray to make new colors.
  3. Let the kids try.IMG_0572

A Colorful Hypothesis
I used the Dinosaur Train A Colorful Hypothesis printout to help teach coloring mixing combinations to the children.IMG_0587 IMG_0588IMG_0586

Rainbow Sprite
  • Sprite
  • Kool-Aid (red, yellow, blue colors)
  • Ice cube tray
  1. Make the Kool-Aid according to package directions & then pour some of it into ice trays, a different ice tray for each color.
  2. Add the color of ice cubes to a cup of Sprite. Watch the color the colors mix if you use two different colors of ice cubes.IMG_0563 IMG_0567

Rainbow Rice Garden Sensory Tub


  • Uncooked rice
  • Food coloring
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Tub
  • Gardening tools
  • Fake flowers
  1. Measure out the rice (6 cups) and put it in a Ziploc bag with about 2 drops of food coloring and 2T of rubbing alcohol. (make red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
  2. Mix the rice in the bags to spread the color. Put them on pans to dry in the sun.
  3. Pour each color side by side in a sensory tub in the color of a rainbow.
  4. Add garden tools and gardening gloves and the fake flowers.IMG_0545 IMG_0546 IMG_0547

Rainbow Cookies


  • Sugar cookie dough
  • food coloring (all the colors of the rainbow)
  1. Divide dough into 6 portions. Tint each with a different food color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple).IMG_0602
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Roll dough into strips and form your rainbows but pushing the colors together.IMG_0601
  4. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.IMG_0604

Rainbow Collage

  • Crayons
  • Cardstock
  • Felt
  • Paper
  • Feathers
  • Pom poms
  • Ribbon
  • Foam Pieces
  • Glue
  1. Have the children pre-color-sort collage supplies.IMG_0605
  2. Draw and color a rainbow on a piece of cardstock.
  3. The children color matched an assortment of stickers, felt, paper, feathers, pom poms, ribbon, and foam pieces onto the rainbow.IMG_0608 IMG_0610

Rainbow Unit Study

Day 1: Colors of the Rainbow

Day 2: God’s Promise

Day 3: The Color Wheel

Day 4: Double Rainbows

Day 5: What Makes a Rainbow?