Color Mixing Whirligigs

Today we’re excited to share these Color Mixing Whirligigs with you.  What exactly is a whirligig?  A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls from wind, friction, or motor power.  We made these color mixing whirligigs to explore the combination that colors have when spun together.  We wanted to see if our whirligigs could appear to change colors when the blades were spun quickly.  This color perception activity was so much fun to make and explore with the kids!
How to make a whirligig and explore color mixing with kids

How to make a whirligig with perceived color mixing:


We used a few materials to make our whirligigs-
3 chopsticks

cardstock in primary colors


three straws

play dough (although this part isn’t really needed-See below)

These are so easy to make.  Tape a straw to a chopstick in a “T” formation.  Cut the cardstock into rectangles.  Bend them over without creasing the fold.  Tape the ends together to make the blades of the whirligigs.  Slide the blades onto both ends of the straw.  Tape at the middle.  You will want to position the blades so that the taped sides are in opposite directions.  As the blades spin through the air, they create areas of low pressure above their curved surfaces.  the higher pressure below the blades pushes up as the whirligig falls and slows the fall.
whirligig craft for kids
Mix the colors on the three whirligigs like so:
red blade with a yellow blade to “mix” to make orange
blue blade with a yellow blade to “mix” to make green
red blade with a blue blade to “mix” to make purple
At this point, we added a small ball of play dough to the ends of the chop sticks.  These added a little safety from flying chopsticks that are sure to happen.  Also, we wanted to toss our whirligigs up in the air  and thought a little weight at the bottom would help with centering the whirligig as it fell.  It didn’t seem to help with keeping them strait, but it did protect eyes.
color mixing whirligig post
These whirligigs were so cool!  Spin them between your hands and the colors seem to “mix”!  Although actual color mixing is not happening, it is the eye’s perception.  We saw more color mixing when we spun the whirligigs with our hands vs dropping them.  Also, when someone spun them quickly, the mixed color was easier to see from far across the room compared to close-up.
Colleen is one of three sisters who share the blog, Sugar Aunts.  You can read more activities and crafts for kids there, along with sensory and fine motor play, cooking with kids, and fun party ideas.  Visit Sugar Aunts on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and Google+.
(Visited 5,298 time, 9 visit today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.