At the beginning of the school year, I ask parents to save and donate certain materials to recycle in the art room. I always ask for cardboard egg cartons. Color mixing with a classroom full of first graders can get messy. After several attempts of shared palettes turning into a mush of brown paint, chaotic clean up at the end of class while washing palettes, and many students upset that their partners didn't let them do the mixing, I knew I had to find a better way.
Using egg cartons for color mixing worked wonderfully. I cut the egg cartons into trays of three wells, and pre-filled them with the colors to mix. I was able to do this step at the start of the day prior to a string of back-to-back classes. Each student LOVED having their own paint and the opportunity to try out the magic of mixing independently. When students were finished, clean up was simple. They threw away their egg palettes and tossed their paintbrush into the rinse bucket. So easy!
***Note: In the photo you might notice that I had my students mixing yellow, magenta, and turquoise instead of yellow, red, and blue. I have found that with the Crayola washable tempera paints, the primary colors do not mix very attractively. By substituting magenta and turquoise, the students get shades of orange, purple, and green that really pop eliciting lots of "oohs" and "ahhs" in the art room : )