Mystery Color Transfer and Sight Word Magic Activity

Mystery Color Transfer Activity – this experiment was a mix of parent-directed & child-led, open-ended fun!  The set up is simple, requiring only food coloring, water, puffy (dimensional) paint, and cotton rounds.  The results are pretty and educational for both kids and adults!

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Important vocabulary

  • 颜色 (yánsè / color)

  • 混色 (hùnsè / color mixing)

  •  混合在一起 (hùnhé zài yīqǐ / mix it together)

  • 红, 橙, 黄, 绿, 蓝, 紫 (hóng, chéng, huáng, lǜ, lán, zǐ / red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)

What you need for the color transfer and sight word magic activity:

  1. Food coloring
  2. Water
  3. 6 small clear cups (so children can see the colors)
  4. Cotton rounds
  5. Cotton balls (optional)
  6. White puffy (dimensional) paint – This is the one we used, and the tip is narrow for more precise writing.
  7. Tray, large serving platter, or baking sheet

Note: If you don’t have puffy paint try using regular white glue or white out.  If you don’t have cotton rounds, you can try using paper towels.

How to set up the color transfer and sight word magic activity:

  1. Write name of each color on cotton round with puffy paint and let dry on tray
  2. Pour water into 3 cups
  3. Add a few drops of red, yellow, and blue food coloring in 3 different cups
  4. Mix red & yellow water into empty glass to make orange
  5. Mix yellow & blue water into another empty glass to make green
  6. Mix blue and red water into the last empty glass to make purple
  7. Pour red water on cotton round labeled “” and see that the color transfers only to cotton round.  The white puffy paint stays white, allowing the character to stand out!
  8. Repeat with the other colors
  9. Optional: Draw question marks on other cotton rounds and mix different colors together to see what colors result!  Also try pouring on cotton balls and see how much of the ball soaks up color!

I’m so glad that we had 2 trays, one to focus on the Chinese characters, and the other for my daughter to enjoy exploring color transfer results!

Many parents have asked if the puffy paint could be substituted for something else, such as glue or white out.  We tried this with regular Elmer’s glue, and the Chinese words did not stand out very well.  Next time, we may have to add more food coloring for contrast for the color transfer.   The process may involve trial and error, but it’s a great learning experience for the whole family!

If you try this Mystery Color Transfer and Sight Word Magic activity, please let us know!  Leave a comment and don’t forget to tag a photo @chalkacademy on Instagram and Facebook.

Recommended activities

More puffy paint activities:

Happy learning, friends!


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