Playdough Color Theory…

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”  ~Oscar Wilde

We are learning about a great artist here at Small Potatoes. We have a big project planned to celebrate what we’ve learned. But that’s for another day, so we are not telling! Yet. But we will share a bit of what we’ve been learning as we study the great artists. We’ve been learning about colors, and where they fit on the color wheel.

Oh, we mix paint here all the time…without even thinking. But this time, we mixed our playdough. And we mixed it with a purpose. We are learning our primary and secondary colors AND working on our fine-motor and prediction skills at the same time!

Now this post is very picture heavy, but we are not apologizing for that. Pretty colors are much more interesting than a bunch of words don’t you think?

We started out with 3 colors. The primary colors. Red, yellow, and blue. These are the colors that can’t be mixed or formed by using any combination of any other colors…

Then we started mixing…

And we found out that…

And so we tried 2 more primary colors…

And we found out that…

So then we mixed 2 more…

And we learned that…

When we had mixed all the primary colors in all the combinations, we then learned a new word! Secondary colors! Secondary colors are the colors you can make by mixing the primary colors!

Of course, we couldn’t just stop there. I told my boy he could make brown by mixing a piece of his red dough with a piece of his green dough. He didn’t believe me at all!

But he gave it a try. His reaction was priceless! As the colors began to mix and the brown began to form, he was genuinely surprised. Ha! When will they learn that Mumma always knows?

Brown. Just like Mumma said…

Now, with this little lesson in color theory under our belts, we are ready for our big project.

Before you go, I’d like to share the best playdough recipe ever with you! I’ve been using it for 20 years and it’s never failed!


1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

Mix with wire whip or wooden spoon in a saucepan


1 cup water 

1 tbsp oil

Food coloring, or 2 tsp powdered tempera paint for vivid color

Mix well, slowly cook over medium heat until it forms a ball. Stir constantly. Knead when cool.

Store in ziplock, plastic container, or jar.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Arlee, Small Potatoes


9 thoughts on “Playdough Color Theory…

  1. This looks like a very fun project for learning color theory! We also loved the Oscar Wilde quote that you have used in the beginning of the post. We’ve shared the quote on our Facebook page.

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  3. We’re looking at brown next week at preschool and was going to mix paint but might use up some of our older playdough instead. Great photos!

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