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K-2: Mixing Colors with "Little Blue and Little Yellow"

by Lisa Tartaglia, Learn NC

This is an integrated lesson based on a French book entitled Petit Bleu et Petit Jaune (Little Blue and Little Yellow) by Leo Lionni. Within the lesson, students will experiment with various colors to create new colors and eventually write their own version of this story.

A lesson plan for Grades K–1 Information Skills, English Language Arts, Visual Arts Education and Science

Students will:

  • retell the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
  • analyze, synthesize, and organize information and discover related ideas, concepts, or generalizations.
  • mix primary colors to create secondary colors.
  • create a new story, changing colors to develop new characters.
  • present their new story to the class.

Time required for lesson: 1.5 hours


  • Petit Bleu et Petit Jaune—(French version) or a book that involves mixing colors, such as the English version or Mousepaint (an English story).
  • color wheel chart
  • food coloring
  • clear plastic honeybear jar or clear animal container
  • eye dropper and bleach
  • lined paper
  • finger-paint paper
  • pencils
  • tempera paints
  • paintbrushes
  • blackboard
  • chalk

Technology resources

No technology is required. However, students may eventually type out their story and create a book using Writer’s Workshop or other software.


When I do this lesson, I enjoy talking first about friendships, since the main characters are two best friends, Blue and Yellow.


1. Allow students to predict the story by looking at the front cover of Petit Bleu et Petit Jaune.

2. Students will respond to questions throughout the story. (vocabulary word questions, questions that predict the plot of the story, “what will happen at the end?”, and so forth.

3. At the end of the story, discuss other colors that could have been used to create this story. Web the responses on the blackboard. Hold up the color wheel to show visually how primary colors produce secondary colors when mixed. Ask questions such as “what happens if we mix red and blue?” and “yellow and red?”

4. Using the clear plastic animal jar filled with water and food colors, then tell a story about an animal friend who, similar to Little Blue and Little Yellow, decided to play in some paint. Here you can experiment with different colors to demonstrate how two colors change. The students can predict the colors before you shake up the jar. At the end of the little story, you can then change my animal back by placing a bit of bleach into the jar. It’s magical for the students. Note: Only the teacher should handle the bleach and food colors.

5. Next, the students retell the story in small groups. Then they will compose the story individually in writing, changing the colors of the characters. When finished, allow them to experiment on their own using finger-paint paper and paints. They may then illustrate their finished story.

6. Finally, the students will share their story with the class.


  • The teacher constantly monitors the students, asking questions for understanding. (Ask students questions about the characters or to retell the story for you, etc.)
  • A K–2 assessment checklist may be used to record understanding of the objectives taught.
  • The final product will help to determine whether or not the student understood the objectives.

Supplemental information

Any other books involving colors and mixing colors, such as Mousepaint, would be appropriate.


This lesson can be easily adapted for all grade levels. Different products could be obtained, such as: dioramas, skits, puppets and much more. I usually extend this lesson for about one week and create a Big Book or skit with the class as a culminating activity.

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