Posted in easy science experiments, preschool, preschool curriculum, STEM

Fun science – changing a flowers colour

One of my favourite activities as a child was to pick my mothers flowers and try change their colour by leaving them in food colouring water.Tonight as I glanced over at the flowers I bought before lockdown I decided it was the perfect time to show Hamish this ” magic” trick.And so we grabbed some glasses, water, food colouring and 2 flowers and set our experiment up.Eager little hands were ready to help me and are still learning to do things slowly.As he poured the blue food colouring he managed to splosh it all over the counter. ( thank goodness for jick)So, when pouring the red, he was so much more gentle and deliberate.After we had coloured the water, he placed one flower in each glass and we have left them overnight.I cant wait to see his reaction in the morning.It takes 24 hours for the flowers to completely change colour and you normally use a plain white flower, so I’m not too certain how vibrant the shades will appear on our slightly greenish flowers.This morning our flowers had absorbed enough food colouring to change colour already.The longer we leave them the more vibrant the colour will appear.

How this works

Plants absorb water from the roots. This water travels up the stems into the flower petals.Although the cut flowers we use no longer have roots, they still absorb water up their stems through a process called capillary action.As the water is coloured with the food colouring, the dye enters the flowers petals and stains them to change colour.What is most interesting is that you need to leave each flower in dyed water to keep the colour as plain water would make the vibrant shades of the petals fade.

Posted in Education, STEM

A list of easy STEM activities for families

STEM, stands for the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

These 4 subjects teach critical thinking, logic and a large variety of other skills needed for when your child one day enters a future workplace.

But, how exactly do we as parents who grew up in a totally different world, equip our children for their future through everyday play ?

A boy stacking cups
How do we prepare our children for their future ?

I’ve compiled a list of easy STEM activities that the entire family can enjoy together.

Activities

I have tried to separate the activities into a category each but many of the activities cross over into one or more of the other categories as well.

Science

  • Take a nature walk in your backyard or neighbourhood.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Get an old microscope and look at things.
  • Plant seeds and record their growth.
  • Take photos of nature.
  • Make slime or ooblek.
  • Learn to recognize trees from their bark.
  • Study a scientist and read their biography.
  • Use a magnifying glass and search for bugs.
  • Make art using leaves.
  • Complete a science simulation online.
  • Plant a vegetable garden.
  • Weed the garden and identify weeds.
  • Go rock hunting.
  • Visit a farm.
  • Make a time lapse video in nature.

Technology

  • Give your children old appliances or toys to dismantle and discover how they work.
  • Fix broken toys and let your child try help with a solution as to how it can be fixed, what materials or tools to use to do so.
  • Investigate your family car’s engine.
  • Learn to code a game.
  • Create a stop motion video using LEGO or PLAYDOH.
  • Learn to use a compass for direction.
  • Fix a bike.
  • Tour a factory.
  • Make a “How to” video.
  • Build a solar oven and cook something.
  • Build something using a pulley
  • Build something using using gears.
  • Use a lever to lift something heavy

Engineering

  • Use a large cardboard box to create a rocketship.
  • Create your own boardgame.
  • Make a LEGO car, building or ship.
  • Make a LEGO bridge.
  • Work out how much paint is needed to paint a room.
  • Design a blueprint of your home.
  • Invent a useful item.
  • Make paper aeroplanes and host an aeroplane flying competition.
  • Design and build mini boats and float them down a river or stream.
  • Build something using only craft sticks, paper straws or pipe cleaners.
  • Make a raft from an empty milk jug.

Maths

  • Take a calculator with to the store and let your child add up your bill, find the best price or work out the cost per item.
  • Play a card game involving numbers.
  • Play connect 4.
  • Play chess.
  • Play checkers.
  • Bake a cake or cookies.
  • Learn to use a maths compass.
  • Build a puzzle
  • Make your own puzzle.
  • Watch a sporting event and keep statistics.
  • Play monopoly.
  • Try origami.
  • Build a picture only using one type of shape.
  • Take photos of shapes around your home.
  • Point out numbers whilst driving in the car.

Do you have any other ideas of fun STEM activities we could enjoy as a family? I would love you to share them in the comments below.