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2 min read

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”


Children often use art as a way to express their feelings and think creatively. In particular, children love to paint. Painting is a very tactile medium and an excellent introduction to art exploration in your home.

Why does Montessori suggest you start with only the primary colours (red, blue, yellow)?

First of all, providing young children with too many colour options can be overwhelming.

This is why the basics of colour theory come in handy.

When studying colour theory, one learns that all colours can be produced by mixing different combinations of the 3 primary colours, but, the 3 primary colours cannot be created by mixing any 2 other colours.

So with that in mind, children really only need the 3 primary colours to create all the colours they might want to use in an art exploration activity.

Plus, figuring out how to create colours is exciting - like magic, really!

All we need to do, as parents, is let go of all our adult caution because exploring, experimenting and mixing paints can get messy!

How to get started:

Put a small amount of red, yellow and blue paint on a piece of paper. Allow your child to experiment mixing those colours in different combinations (e.g. mixing red with yellow to create orange), using their paint brush or finger. They are bound to be fascinated that the secondary colours (green, orange and purple) will be created, magically, right in front of their eyes!

What do kids learn from a simple colour mixing activity?
  • Scientific Thinking
  • Mathematical Thinking
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Language Skills

Painting and Montessori

In Montessori classrooms, painting is not only used for self expression and creativity, but it is a practical skill. For children aged 3 to 6, painting is a way of strengthening muscles and developing fine motor skills. Painting can also help to improve a child’s concentration and hand-eye coordination.

In addition to the benefits painting has on brain development, the process of setting up (e.g. putting on a smock, pulling out a piece of paper, filling a jar with water) and cleaning up (e.g. cleaning a paint brush, storing the paints in jars, putting a smock away) helps to promote independence.

In Montessori classrooms, and really in any excellent early years environment, there is a focus on the process and not the product.

What you see up on walls are not photos of a child’s final project, but rather, the steps they took to get there.

Children know when they feel satisfied with their process. This is when they usually choose to stop. Educators respect their process and don’t focus on the final product.

Click here to see our entire collection of art materials for children.

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