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If you missed my post last week which featured some free, integrated lesson plans for teaching kindness, I’d like to start by saying that I love when I can find an activity for my children that allows them to explore and practice skills from several areas at once. Below is an outline for an activity that my children and I recently did that kids about ages 3-7 would likely enjoy. It touches areas of art, natural science, and sequencing. Enjoy, and have fun learning together!

Science Meets Art: Dying Carnations with Your Child

Recently, my older child (age 5) was watering some plants with me. I noticed him carefully sprinkling water on the leaves. “Water the soil,” I said, “so the plants can absorb it!” “But the plants can’t get it from down that low. They need it on their leaves!” I explained how plants suck up water through their roots then stems, but he was confused. We decided to do an experiment to see how the water travels up the stem of the flower, all the way to the blossom.

Step One:


We began by gathering the materials: 6 white flowers (we used carnations), 6 clear glasses of water, food coloring, a spoon, and scissors

Step Two:

dye water

We talked about the rainbow color spectrum (something we discuss somewhat frequently). We had recently read the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, which talks about color mixing. We remembered how the mice in the story mixed colors to make new colors, and we dyed the cups of water red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Step Three

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We trimmed the stems, cutting them at an angle for better color absorption, and put one flower in each color. If flowers do, indeed, suck up water through their stems, we’d know, because the blooms would change color!

Step Four:

checking flowers

After one day, we checked the flowers. They were changing color! The water does actually get sucked through the stems to the blossoms. My son was excited to see this. We practiced arranging the cups in rainbow order again. We added a little extra dye to the water, and we decided to give them another day to soak up more color.

Step Five:


After nearly three days in the dyed waters, we decided to take the flowers out of their cups and my son arranged them in a vase on the table. He was excited to practice putting them in in rainbow order. Success! And, as an added bonus, we have a beautiful centerpiece on our table!

We had lots of fun with this project, and hope you do, too! Happy exploring!

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