Home: Experiments and
Looking for a way to engage your
child at home? Need a rainy day activity? Look no further!
Bowl of Water
Paper towel, cut into strips
3-6 different markers, including black
Draw a wavy line an inch from the bottom of the paper towel
strip. Dip each strip into the water so the bottom of the towel is
submerged, but not the line of ink. Hold in place and watch as the
water travels up the towel. The ink marks will spread, revealing
the different dyes that make up the color in the marker.
Most colors are actually made up of several different dyes. As
the paper towel, draws the liquid out of the bowl, the water
molecules bond with different ink molecules and spread them. The
process of separating these dyes is known as chromatography. To
take the exploration further, have your child cover their eyes
while you draw a line on a fresh strip. Dip it into the water, once
the ink has spread, have them open their eyes and try to guess
which marker you used.
1 Zip-Lock Bag (must have zip top)
1-3 Sharp Pencils
Fill the bag halfway with water and seal it. Hold it at arm's
length and help your child poke a sharp pencil through the bag
(below the waterline) and out the other side without removing it.
The bag won't leak. With the pencil in place, add another. Still,
Water molecules need empty air space in order to flow. Though
you are creating holes with the pencil, as long as it's in place,
it plugs the hole so the water can't move. Of course, you can't
plug just anything with a pencil. This activity highlights the
properties of common plastics. It works because plastic is formed
of polymers or molecules connected in long, repeating chains. These
chains stretch to allow the pencil through and then tighten around
it just like a turtleneck tightens once it's over your head. If you
pull the pencils out, the holes will remain. Be sure to remove
pencils over the sink.
Cup of Water
Piece o f String
Place the ice cubes in the water. They will float on top. Put
the string in water and try to "fish" for an ice cube. Sprinkle
salt on top of the ice cubes. Repeat the process of "fishing"
for an ice cube with the string. Pull the string out and see what
When salt is mixed with ice it lowers the freezing point.
Usually water freezes at 32° F (0° C), but when it is mixed
with salt it lowers the freezing point significantly. Simply put,
when salt is sprinkled over ice, the ice melts. However, when it is
used in such a small amount, like in our experiment, the water
around the ice freezes again quickly. This means that the string
gets trapped as the water around it refreezes, thus making it stick
to the ice.