Toddler colour mixing and pouring

My youngest son has recently started talking about colours. He has become very keen on Elmer the elephant (from the David McKee books), and loves to point out colours to us, with an ever-increasing vocabulary. He also enjoys water play, particularly pouring water between containers. I thought I'd combine these interests with a colour mixing activity for him.

I dissolved red, yellow and blue Crayola bath dropz (a bit more about these in this blog post, and affiliate link for Amazon UK and US) in separate containers of water.  The advantage of these over the food colourings we have is that they don't seem to stain. I split some the coloured liquids between various plastic pots of different shapes and sizes. I put these in a big shallow box outside. I showed my son the box and explained that he could pour to make different colours. There was no hesitation, he picked up a tub of yellow and poured it into some blue, then exclaimed "green!" as he saw the colour he had made. 

Colour mixing

He then poured different combinations together - I mostly let him choose but did suggest trying red and yellow (which he found made "osh" which is how he pronounces orange!) and also red and blue (which make purple). There was quite a bit of spillage, mostly in the box, but he had a lovely time pouring between containers and watching new colours emerge.  

Making green

He seemed puzzled by why the colour apparently disappeared when he poured it into the black pot, saying "black" when he put blue into it, and "blue" with some surprise when he poured it back out.  The pot doesn't reflect any light back through the liquid, so it appears black. 

Black and a tower of pots

He made a colour that I described as "dark purple" which he repeated a few times whilst pouring, and he later pointed out dark purple when he was painting. Eventually there was a stack of empty pots (he was proud of his "tower"!) and all the liquid was black. He would have poured it for longer except there was a sudden heavy shower and he wanted to go inside (and I wasn't going to object!).  We've since had another go with both boys, and the older one (almost 4) enjoyed it too, although the sharing aspect of doing it together didn't go so well.