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PreK Art & Science: Little Blue and Little Yellow

Little Blue & Little Yellow via Chez Beeper Bebe


Lionni, Leo. Little Blue and Little Yellow. 1947.

Mulder-Slater, Andrea. “Tasty Color Mixing.” KinderArt. http://goo.gl/y9JhLq


Copy of Little Blue and Little Yellow for each child.

For Frosting Station:

Blue food coloring

Yellow food coloring

Red food coloring

Vanilla frosting

1 paper plate/child

1 popsicle stick/child

Small garbage bags, cut into bibs

For Paint Station:

1 small plastic bag/child

Yellow tempura paint

Blue tempura paint

For Playdough Demo (If there’s enough playdough, can be a take home activity):


Blue playdough

Yellow playdough

Lots of handwipes


1 Day Before:

Make the blue and yellow playdough, if making your own. Use any recipe that won’t dry overnight.

Mix vanilla frosting with food coloring to create colored frostings.

Precut garbage bags into bibs, if necessary

Day of:

Put tablecloths/newspaper down in each activity area.

Set up paper plates at the frosting station. Put some of each color frosting in the frosting station for parents to help their kids with. Put supply of bibs at this station.

Get blue and yellow paints in small bottles if available, so children can more easily squirt them in themselves. If only large bottles are available, ask parents to help. Put plastic bags near the paint.


Read Little Blue and Little Yellow together. Try to have enough books for each child and parent to have a copy as well. I used the board book version to make it stand up a little better, as our “preschool” crowd often verges on toddler. If you have colored lenses, you can use these to help children see the combination of blue and yellow in a way that separates back out. When you’ve read the book, as about colors. What happened when little blue and little yellow hugged?

Reinforce color mixing by showing them the two balls of playdough. What will happen when you mix them together? Start with a small blue ball and a small yellow ball (have a backup of each handy for the end of the story.) Have the children walk back through the story with you. When blue and yellow hug, mix the dough together. What color is it now? What colors make green?

When you’ve retold the story, have them try some mixing of their own. For mess-squeamish settings, the paint in a plastic bag can be cleaner, and yet still a nice sensory way to have children squishily explore color mixing. Squirt some of each color into opposite corners of the bag and seal it shut – reinforce with tape if necessary. Children can then squish the bag to mix the paint colors, creating spectrum of yellow, blue, and green.

At the frosting station, children can make a color wheel out of frosting on their plate. The addition of red at this table increases the number of colors they can have. Have a color wheel example on hand, but allow children to explain with color mixing in all forms. Let them take the plates home.

Parents and children can move between stations as they will.


What happens when blue and yellow mix?

What about other colors? Do they mix?

Can you mix other colors together to make blue, red or yellow? Why not?


These activities allow for some messy, sensory play that can still be contained in a library. Color is an easy way to introduce a variety of art activities that we will be doing in the coming weeks. Seeing that color works the same in various mediums (light, playdough, and paint) will help children feel more comfortable as they experiment with various art methods, as well as encouraging scientific observation and questioning. This is an easy way to help children who are used to normal library storytimes (the ones with books) transition into other learning activities and events at the library as well.

Try it!

Encourage parents to show children how color mixing works. When making pancakes, for instance, adding food coloring can change the dough, and thus the pancake. A tasty learning opportunity!

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