Learning colors isn’t just fun for kids—it’s also an important cognitive step that helps them organize the world around them. So give your budding brainiac a boost with this easy craft project that’ll have your youngster calling out her colors in no time. Scroll down for the deets.

color-wheel-materialsWhat You’ll Need:

Crayons or markers

Paper

6 Wooden clothespins (optional)

Paints (optional)

Cups for mixing paint

Various colorful objects to place inside wheel

(Note: This project is meant for kids under 4, but older kids can help out with the coloring and painting.)

color-wheel-1

Step 1: Make and Color Your Wheel
Using the rim of a round bowl, trace a large circle onto a piece of paper. Then, draw straight lines to make six equal pie pieces and color them red, purple, blue, green, yellow, and orange (the primary and secondary colors). If you’ve got older kids, let them do the coloring. And — Now’s a good time to explain how the primary colors are the only hues that can’t be created by mixing other colors together.

color-wheel-4
Step 2: Bring on the Paint
Using acrylic or tempera paint, paint six wooden clothespins to correspond with the colors in your color wheel. Don’t waste your paint! Use any leftover paint to give your kids a quick lesson in color-creation! Grab a paint brush and show them first-hand what happens when you mix various colors together.

color-wheel-3Step 3: Scavenge For Color
While your paint is drying, give your kids a bag and let them scour your house and/or yard to find small, colorful, things to put onto their color wheel. Think Hot Wheels cars, Legos, play coins, etc.  If your kids already know their colors and you want to make things a little more challenging, try to find different shades of the same color.

color-wheel-5Step 4: Play!
Now’s when you can plop your littlest color king or queen into the game. Give her the found objects (being careful to monitor the smaller items in her hands) and let her try to match them with their respective colors. Feel free to help out — and don’t be dismayed if she doesn’t get the concept; most kids can’t name the basic colors until they’re two or three years old.

color-wheel-clipsStep 5: Put a Clip on It
Let your kids work those hand muscles (they’ll need that strength to hold a pencil someday!); ask them to clip the clothespins onto the correct colors of the wheel. Younger kiddos probably won’t have the muscle strength to do this, but that’s OK; it’s the matching that matters.

When they’ve had enough hands-on color play, let your young artists relax and recap the lesson with this catchy music video about primary colors.

Are your kids color-crazy? Share your favorite color crafts below!

— all photos and copy by Melissa Heckscher