Rainbow swirl paint

It always feels more like spring when you have a rainbow of colors in the classroom, so  our children whipped up their own rainbow swirl paint and in the process, we were able to spend time talking about the idea of color blending…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

Each child had their own individual cup to fill with paint and could choose from any of the rainbow colors we had out on the table.  We store our paint in refillable squeeze bottles which makes it easier for the children to squeeze out their own paint…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

To get started with this interesting approach towards blending colors, the children squeezed a layer of each color of paint into their cups. The children were encouraged to place only one squeeze of each color in their cups so they could see each new layer of color as they added more color on top.

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

Some children chose to layer their colors in rainbow order, while others just used their favorite colors.  The children definitely enjoyed creating the layers of paint and now it was time to see what will happen next…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

Once the children finished layering their paint, it was time to dip the paint brush in the paint and then swirl it around on their paper…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

We encouraged the children to dip their paintbrush straight down into their cup and then pull straight back up. The challenge was to not stir the paint in their cup, but rather to wait and stir (or swirl) their paint on the paper…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

If the children stirred their paint too much in their cup, they would realize that their colors would become muddled and the different colors would get lost before they had a chance to put it on the paper.  So the goal was to dip their paintbrush and wait to mix and twirl their paintbrush all over their paper. Once the paintbrush was on the paper the children were able to see brushstrokes that had a blend of all color they chose…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

Each child’s paint looked different on the paper.  A few of them were predominantly red, but small hints of all the other colors showed through…

Rainbow swirl painting by Teach Prechool

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

This little guy’s paint was unique in that it was mostly blues and greens…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

As the children explored the process, the colors  of paint continued to blend together, but the children were fascinated to see what blend of colors would come next with each stroke of the paint brush…

Rainbow swirl paint by Teach Preschool

The key point to keep in mind was that what was most interesting to the children was creating layers and blends of colors. The children were not concerned with creating a rainbow or anything specific. For the children, the focus was all about exploring color…

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By |2014-03-09T11:31:23+00:00March 9th, 2014|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Caroline -De tout et de rien- March 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    That’s such a great and fun idea! I have 8 squeeze bottles and lots of paint. I will try it with my daughter! Thank you Deborah!

  2. Kate_Laughing Kids Learn March 10, 2014 at 7:15 am - Reply

    So wonderful, simple and very educational. Love it.

  3. Stephanie Schuler March 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Great stuff! Looks like it would be a great lesson/activity to teach about primary and secondary colors as well!

  4. Mary Catherine March 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    I love this activity and cannot wait to try it out with my students! 🙂 I also really need to switch over my paints to the bottles like you do. You always have fun ideas and tips for us. 🙂

  5. Daycares in O'Fallon MO March 12, 2014 at 5:34 am - Reply

    I loved this activity. Thank you for sharing it. I am definitely using this activity with my kids in preschool. And I think that other than teachers of preschools and childcare centers even parents should also try this activity with their kids at home. And I am sure that children will enjoy doing this activity as they always want to do activity which includes fun.

  6. jeanine March 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    fab idea! i will see if my preschooler will dip straight in and out! sounds like a challenge. 🙂 thank you for your inspiration like usual !

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