Science + Art: Color Mixing Tops

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It’s a little bit science, a little bit art, and a whole lot of fun! We tried to see if we could mix colors through motion and came up with some awesome results.
Our color mixing tops were simple to make and used supplies that you probably already have at home. So, get out the craft supplies and get ready to have fun with this STEAM activity.
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Supplies Needed:
Thin cardboard (recycled cereal or cracker box)
Circle template
We used our circle template (the top of our Barrel of Monkeys) to trace a few circles on our cereal box. A drinking glass or a can would also work for your template. You only need one circle per top. We made four different tops to test our different color combinations.
After we cut out our circles, we divided them into four equal sections. Using our primary paint colors, we alternated the colors in each section. We used only two colors per top. My 5-year-old divided her circles in half, with each half a different color.
Once our paint was dry, I made a tiny hole in the center of each top. (Use a pair of sharp scissors or a paper clip to make the hole.)  If you divided your top into quarters, the center is very easy to find. We then poked a toothpick into the middle of each circle.
They turned out so pretty! But, did they work? There’s nothing left to do but try. We started spinning and were amazed to see the colors blend together. So cool!
I tried my hardest to get some good pictures, but it wasn’t easy! Have you ever tried to photograph a spinning top in low light? Boy, is that tough! I got plenty of crummy pictures, but I was able to capture one that showed the color mixture effect. In the photo below. We were spinning our red and yellow top from the picture above. Can you see the orange? We also discovered that the tops divided into quarters blended the colors much better than the ones divided into halves.
I always love combining science and art. We always have so much fun!
Make this a family adventure:
Cost: Free. Use materials you already have at home.
Planning time: Under 10 minutes to gather supplies and set up a work space.
Ages: 5 and up
Time Needed: 30 minutes
Notes: If you want to add more learning elements to this project, use an abbreviated version of the scientific method. Ask your question. Let the family make predictions. Then test those predictions. Were the results what you expected?
Watch the colors mix with these simple color mixing tops. A fun at-home STEAM activity.
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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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