Updated: Jun 21
Both my 6 year old and 8 year old have done plant units at school and have learned all the parts of a plant. While my older son was doing a plant unit , we had an at home science assignment using food dye and celery to demonstrate how water moves up the stem (capillary action.) We got some color, but I thought it would be fun to do with white flowers where they can see a bigger difference. (Plus, a little educational refresher is never a bad idea.) And, because Independence Day is coming up, if we colored some the flowers blue and red we had some patriotic décor.
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For an introductory video or refresher on parts of a plant I really like this video.
3 clear cups or glasses
Red and blue food coloring
The directions are ridiculously easy. We bought a bouquet of white daisies from the grocery store. We separated them into three groups and cut the stems. Then we placed each of them in cups of water. The kids then added a few drops of red in one cup and a few drops of blue in another cup. (Well, it probably ended up being 5-6 drops because the kids were pretty excited about it. My 3 year old and 6 year old were the food coloring droppers.) After a few hours we already started seeing color. My three year old was most excited about the changing colors. He ran over to the flowers at least 6 times that day to check them!
Another cool thing we learned by doing research is that if the flowers still had their roots, the flowers would not change color. The roots do take up water, but they are smart and only take up what they need. Since they don't need food coloring, it won't move up the roots to them stem.
This is how the flowers looked the next morning.
After we decided we were content with the amount of color the flowers had, we put them all into a mason jar. I love how they turned out! If you want to expand on this project, you could always mix colors and see what happens. For more 4th of July inspired science experiments, read 4th-of-july-steam-activities.
Happy 4th of July!