I have seen this experiment done in many different ways. I have seen people do it with a variety of flowers and even celery. The idea is to place a flower in colored water. You may be able to begin with colored flowers, and still see the flower transform, however, I think white flowers are best suited for this experiment.
As the flower drinks the water, it's color is "magically" transformed. If your child is a little older than Rosie, this experiment is a great way to teach the science of flowers and how they thrive. For Rosie's age, we focused on the magical aspect.
I was so excited to present this activity to Rosie. I filled six clear plastic cups with water. I then put a different food coloring in front of each cup. I trimmed the flowers so that they could easily stand in the shallow cups, and placed them next to the cups of water.
In order to make some of the colors, I used food coloring gel. I pre-mixed those for Rosie since the food coloring gels are not quite as toddler friendly to work with.
Rosie was very excited! As soon as she saw the activity, she sat down, and immediately grabbed the yellow food coloring.
As she mixed the food coloring into the cups of water, I helped to ensure she only put one color in each cup.
Handling the food coloring was great for Rosie's fine motor development.
Rosie loved watching the water transform colors. Of course, I am sure to her, it was sheer magic!
Getting a closer look!
Time to put the flowers in the colored water.
This part of the activity was a great opportunity to practice basic math applications. I told Rosie to place two roses in each cup.
She did surprisingly well, and only needed a little guidance.
I was not sure how long the flowers were going to take to transform, but like most toddlers, Rosie has a very short attention span. I decided to take Rosie up for a bath, and check on the flowers after.
After bath, there was little change. The green and blue flowers were the only ones in the bunch that had begun to transform.
I told Rosie we would have to wait until morning to see if the flowers were transformed, and put her to bed.
I checked the flowers again right before I went to bed. I was thrilled! They had really started to change! Rosie was going to be so excited in the morning!
And she was! Just look at how colorful the flowers had become overnight!
Once Rosie had explored the flowers a bit with her eyes, I encouraged her to explore them with her nose.
She loved how fragrant they were!
I then took the opportunity to sneak in a color exercise. I asked Rosie to point to a certain color flower. She was so proud to show mommy each color flower when asked. This was a great activity for reinforcing her color recognition!
I then pointed out to Rosie that we had made a rainbow with our flowers!
Once Rosie was all through exploring, I set the flowers aside to continue to soak in the colored water. The red flowers had just begun to transform, and i was hoping they would grow more colorful with time.
Once I feel they have gotten saturated with as much color as possible, I am going to gather them together in a St. Patrick's day themed vase. I just love that we turned mommy's Valentine's Day flowers into St. Patrick's day flowers. This was such a fun activity. So fun that I told my husband that I only want white flowers from now on ;)
I can't wait to try this experiment with different flower varieties. I think the results will vary a bit. Flowers that take in water faster will surely change more quickly. I also can't wait until Jewel is old enough to join in! If you don't have flowers on hand, consider trying this activity with celery. I have not done this yet myself, but have seen it done with beautiful results. Just be sure and leave the leafy celery top attached. I know I am going to buy some celery on my next grocery trip to do this experiment again.
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