Spinning Color Wheels

Spinning Color Wheels lesson plan

Create cool color tricks while learning about primary and secondary colors and color blending.

  • 1.

    On thin white cardboard or poster board, use a compass, or trace around an object, to make circles 5 inches (12 cm) in diameter. Cut out the circles with Crayola® Scissors.

  • 2.

    Draw lines with Crayola Colored Pencils to divide the front and back of each circle into equal pie-like sections.

  • 3.

    Color the sections with Crayola Crayons. Experiment with varying color patterns on different wheels and predict the results. Poke a small hole in the center of the circle with scissors. A grown up can help you. Pull about 18 inches (45 cm) of yarn or string halfway through the hole.

  • 4.

    Hold one end of the string in each hand. Swing the string and circle until the entire length of string is twisted. Then give the string a firm, brisk pull. As the wheel spins, watch the colors appear to mix.

  • 5.

    Complementary colors such as yellow and purple, red and green, or blue and orange will appear muddy brown. Alternating two primary colors will result in the secondary color that those two colors create. For example, when alternating sections are blue and


  • Children create and identify secondary colors by mixing different combinations of two primary colors.
  • Children draw circles and divide them into equal sections.
  • Children experiment with visual perception to observe how the eye and brain perceive mixed colors when colors are not mixed.


  • Younger children can experiment with color mixing using primary colors of paint in small bowls.
  • If students are unfamiliar with the terms primary, secondary, or complementary colors ask the art teacher to share a color wheel. Explore relationships between and among colors. Experiment with color contrasts by mixing paint.
  • Older students explore the role of both the eye and brain in seeing color. Examine how visual perception is affected by eyes, the optical nerve, and sections of the brain.