Colors for Kids

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Colors are so much fun to learn about and kids love to show off what they know about them!

Color is one of my favorite things about art. Splashing some color is enough to make anything, any picture, come alive. Coloring pages are so easy to print to learn or practice colors and color theory, later on.

Colors for kids are much easier to teach than trying to remember and explain all the theory that artists and designers need to know. But don’t let that deter you from exposing your little one to all the colors of the rainbow.

The Primary Colors

the primary colors red blue and yellow

This is one of the first lessons to teach a little one.

Red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors.

These are called the primary colors because there is no way to mix these colors.

Together, they mix all the other colors the human eye can see, using black and white as well.

Secondary Colors

secondary colors green orange and purple

When the primary colors are understood, then it’s time to learn to mix them!

Mixing the primary colors together…

Red and Blue makes Purple.

Red and Yellow makes Orange.

Blue and Yellow makes Green.

Gets you the secondary colors, green, orange, and purple.

These colors are called the secondary colors because they are made with the primaries.

The best shade of these colors are made when the same amount of the two colors are mixed together. Too much of one color or another makes a completely different shade, called a tertiary color.

Basic Color Wheel

basic color wheel filled with red orange yellow green blue and purple

The primary and secondary colors are enough to make a basic color wheel to teach colors for kids. When they understand the names of the colors and how they mix together, their artwork can improve by learning to use color schemes.

Tertiary Colors

These colors are more advanced for school age children, or younger children that love art.

These colors are the ones you see written as Red-violet, Blue-violet, Blue-green, Yellow-green, Yellow-orange, and Red-orange.

Red-orange is made by mixing equal parts red and orange together, to make an orange color that is darker red than the secondary orange.

The others are all made similarly, mixing equal parts primary and secondary colors to make the tertiary color.

Color theory is more complicated when adding in these colors, so just learning the names and how they’re mixed is enough to start.

Other Colors

Young children don’t only learn the first six colors, but also a few others that are common.

Black and white mix together to make gray, but when mixed with other colors make a lighter or darker version of those colors, called tints and shades.

So, Red and white mixed make Pink, a tint.

Orange and black make a Brown color, a shade.

Black can be mixed using all three of the primary colors in paints, but not in colored light. White cannot be mixed in paints, but it can be created in colored lights.

Warm and Cool Colors

warm color scheme of red orange and yellow

After understanding the colors, next is learning which colors are considered warm and which colors are considered cool.

Red, Orange, and Yellow are considered warm colors.

Warm colors make objects appear closer in a picture. It’s why red cars or orange clothing are so eyecatching.

cool color scheme of green blue and purple

Green, Blue, and Purple are considered cool colors.

Cool colors make objects appear farther in the picture. This is why the sky and shadows always appear far away.

Using colors that are just warm or just cool give the picture a great early, easy composition for little ones to get started in color theory. They’re called a warm color scheme and a cool color scheme.

Hopefully this helps make teaching colors for kids fun and easy! This is a wonderful start to introducing color theory in a gentle way that hopefully sparks interest in color and art when they get to a coloring page.

Encouraging your little one to draw, color, craft, and paint daily gives the best start needed to keep your little one continuing art throughout childhood and beyond.