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We love doing little science experiments together. The fascination and amazement on their faces about things that we adults would consider normal and every day is just too good to pass up.
Oh, and it’s educational as well.
This experiment shows kids how flowers drink the water in the vase (or ground) and really gets them excited. It’s easy to set up by the kids themselves and you, though the process is slow enough to easily follow, the results are quick enough to keep the kids interested.
Our original plan was to take a little walk in the fields nearby and pick some white flowers there (physical activity and science rolled into one, anyone?), but unfortunately it hasn’t rained in quite a while so no flowers to pick at the moment.
Fortunately, my husband warned me of that before we set out to the edge of our town!
So, I sacrificed a flower from one of our rose bushes instead. Just remember that you can use any flower, as long as it’s white.
The food coloring in this flower coloring experiment doesn’t just change the color of the flower, it flows through the whole plant. Only, the rest of the plan (green stem and leaves) is too dark green for us to see it.
The flower, in contrast, is light and white and clearly shows the kids the change in look.
When doing this flower coloring experiment, it might be interesting to try different colors, quantify of food coloring and stem lengths. Each leads to slightly different results!
Quick wee side note: Because I know how hard it can be to come up with fun games each time, I’ve created a 7-day challenge for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. This is a great way to get started if you’ve fallen out of the habit of playing with your kids, or to learn about fresh ideas and activities.
Each day for 1 week, you will receive an e-mail with an activity that you can do with your kids. Join the newsletter and start your 7 days of play today!
The kids’ results
The kids very much enjoyed doing this experiment.
Q took the lead and was really fascinated. At now age 6 he is starting to understand, but also wonders more about stuff.
C, at age 3 enjoyed it, but was less surprised. He was still enchanted by the change in color, but too much stuff that surprises him still happens every day. So to him, this was just one more magical thing happening.
We kept our experiment around for several more days, to see if anything more would change. It didn’t, so we concluded that our flower had stopped drinking.
I’d like to do this experiment again, but then with white tulips. It’s easy to see how long tulips live as they swell up from all of the water they drink. We’ll also add a “control tulip” i.e. without food coloring to the experiment to see if the food coloring has any effects on the longevity of our flowers
We’ll have to wait for tulips to get back into season, first though.
The things you’ll need for a flower coloring experiment
Clear cups or vase;
A white flower;
How to do the flower coloring experiment
Let the kids pour the water into the cup and ask them to add 2 – 3 drops of food coloring.
Without that very specific direction, half of the bottle of food coloring will end up in the cup. So I’ve learned to give some sort of direction there.
Then, let the kids clip the flower to a size where it fits into the cup without falling over.
Let them take note of what the water looks like now. And of what the flower looks like now.
Come back in an hour or two. What does the flower look like now?
Tell them about how flowers drink water and all the nutrients that are in that water. In this case, including the food coloring.
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