Colour Wheel for Kids – a Paper Plate Craft

At this time of year, after weeks of dreary, grey skies, I start to yearn for colourful crafts like our rainbow wind chimes and rainbow collages.  Yesterday we made this vibrant Colour Wheel craft! It was a beautiful way to teach the hooligans about colour, colour order and colour-mixing. 

Paper plate colour wheel for kids - Happy Hooligans

And after numerous winter crafts and activities, and months of snow, our colour wheels were truly a site for tired eyes.

Teaching toddlers and preschoolers about colours and colour-blending:

A colour wheel is a useful tool to teach kids about colours and rainbow order, and it can used to help explain primary, secondary and tertiary colours and the basics of colour-mixing.

3 paper plate colour wheels - happy hooligans

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Supplies for making a Paper Plate Colour Wheel:

Supplies for kid's colour wheel craft

How we made our colour wheels:

We started by looking at some colour wheels on the internet, and talking about the colours that made them up: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet.  Then I had the girls choose 2 colours each to work on.

Each hooligan received their paper plates and some pots of acrylic paint.  If they’d chosen a primary colour (red, blue or yellow), they received several shades of that colour.  If they chose a secondary colour, they received a few pots of the primary AND secondary colours that would make up their colour.

painting paper plates for colour wheeljpg

And then they painted and blended and mixed their paint colours until their plates were entirely covered.  Colour mixing is always such a gorgeous and almost magical activity for a young child.  “Look, Jackie!  My red and blue made purple!”

6 painted plates for paper plate colour wheel

The paint dried quite quickly, and while the girls were having snack, they watched me use a pencil and ruler to mark 6 pie-shaped sections on the backs of their plates.  Then I cut them into wedges.  Older children will enjoy doing this process themselves.

Pencil lines dividing paper plate into 6 parts.

Back at the craft table, the hooligans explored the colourful “pieces of pie” and eventually they sorted them into 6 stacks, which we arranged in rainbow order.

sorting colour wedges for colour wheel craft


Then each hooligan their own stack of 6 colourful wedges, and received a fresh paper plate on which I’d drawn 6 sections. They applied glue to their paper plates, and matched up their painted wedges to the ones drawn on the plate, press in them into place.

Gluing coloured wedges onto paper plate colour wheel

It wasn’t until after the craft was done that I realized how interesting it was that all three of the girls had arranged their coloured in the opposite direction of a real colour wheel.

3 paper plate colour wheels for toddlers and preschoolers (vertical)

Oh well, it wasn’t really about making a true-to-life colour wheel.  It was about exploring and being creative and enjoying the vibrant pop of colour that our colour wheel provided on a dull and blustery winter day.

Toddler holding a paper plate colour wheel.


For more easy, colourful crafts for kids, check out our:

Button Snakes

Easy Homemade Watercolours

Rainbow Rice

Stained Glass Painting

Bead and Mirror Play


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  1. says

    I love this Jackie! Very colorful for these dull days. We have been lucky here in Ontario, Canada cuz we’ve seen a lot of the sun through this long frigid winter. Anyway, I love your website here & creative inspiration, thank you!!

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