Explore Together (indoors): Squishes of Color

  • paint (various colors plus white, black)
  • plastic spoons
  • plastic bags (clear, sealable)
  • color
  • dark
  • darker
  • light
  • lighter
  • mix
  • paint
  • shade

MA Standards:

Language/L.PK.MA.5.a: Demonstrate understanding of concepts by sorting common objects into categories (e.g., sort objects by color, shape, or texture).

MA Draft STE Standards

Physical Sciences: Matter and Its Interactions: Structure and Properties of Matter/PS1.A: Describe, compare, sort and classify objects based on observable physical characteristics, uses, and whether it is manufactured as part of their classroom play and investigations of the natural and human-made world.

Head Start Outcomes:

Language Development/Expressive Language: Engages in communication and conversation with others.
Language Development/Expressive Language: Uses increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.
Logic and Reasoning/Reasoning and Problem Solving: Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Language 2: Participate actively in discussions, listen to the ideas of others, and ask and answer relevant questions.
English Language Arts/Language 4: Engage in play experiences that involve naming and sorting common words into various classifications using general and specific language.

Explore Together (indoors): Squishes of Color

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

STEM Key Concepts: There are many different colors; A color can have many different shades (from very light to very dark); White paint mixed with a color makes a lighter shade of the same color; Black paint mixed with a color makes a darker shade of the same color

ELA Focus Skills: Listening and Speaking, Vocabulary

Tell children they are going mix paints in clear plastic bags so they can observe a color becoming a lighter or darker shade.  Give each child a sealable sandwich bag. Ask them to put a spoonful of colored paint into the bag. Then ask,

  • What will you do to make your paint color a light shade? What will you do to make your paint color a dark shade? Ask children to turn to a buddy and talk about what shade of color they want to mix and how they think they will mix that color. 
  • Then have children put an amount of white or black paint into the bag. You may need to help children spoon in the paint.
  • When children are finished adding white or black, help them seal each bag. Ask, What do you think will happen when you mix the colors together?
  • Tell children to gently squish their bags to mix the colors.

Once children have mixed their colors ask them to share how they made their color (“I put two spoons of white paint in the bag.”) and the results the got. (“The orange got lighter.”) This will confirm that children understand the cause-and-effect relationship that made a color lighter or darker.

Take it Further: Let children sort the bags from light to dark by color and then line up the colors from lightest shade to darkest shade.

Adaptation: For groups with very young children, you may want to put the paint in a baster or and eye dropper so children can squeeze in small amounts of paint at a time to minimize accidental paint spills.

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