Oh, the little one loves experiments and the word, “hypothesis.”
And I’m okay with both of those things and will nurture that love for as long as possible. You might have noticed that we do a lot of very simple and safe experiments around here – she’s only 2.5, so we’re a bit limited.
Today after the gym, we stopped into the grocery to grab a few things. Not 30 seconds after we walked through Safeway’s doors, Elise screamed – at the top of her lungs, mind you – “Daddy and Elise forgot to get Mommy flowers!!!!!!”
After I caught my breath and realized that no one was bleeding profusely from a head wound, I chuckled and let Elise pick out some flowers for the dining room table. She chose white carnations, ya’ll. Nine, plain, white carnations.
As we prepared for Memorial Day here in the States, I thought we could set up a simple, safe experiment to show Elise how plants take in water, all while adding some color to our table. Click on “Read More” to see some safe science for kids in action!
Okay, let’s cover the screaming bit first. Why would my child be screaming about flowers?
You see, it’s a Daddy-Daughter-Date when Elise and Jeff go to Costco together. She gets beyond excited to ride in Dad’s big, red, truck – she’s up so high that she can see everything! It makes her so happy to be riding around with Jeff and listening to “Daddy music.”
Even Jeff gets a kick out of this Daddy-Daughter time. He’s not only over-the-moon about getting to spend time with his little girl, but he’s probably super happy that I’m not there adding stuff to the Costco cart. It’s amazing, but there’s always something – oh, and then something else, and something else – to take home from Costco, isn’t there?
Speaking of taking stuff home… We took home the nine, plain, white carnations, which do have a simple beauty all their own. They aren’t what I would have chosen, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Letting Elise choose what she thought was beautiful is a lesson for mommy.
After lunch, we filled up some bud vases with our colored water (about 15 drops of each), cut the stems and set them onto the table. I told her that the flowers drink the water through their stems and Elise began repeating, “drink, flowers, drink” over and over. And over and over.
Left alone to do their thing, Elise couldn’t separate the beauty of the flowers with the experiment. She would point at them randomly and say, “the flowers are drinking, Mommy.”
We had to wait for a while for our flowers to show any change, which was super hard for a 2.5 year old! We put the flowers in the water about 1 in the afternoon and started seeing changes just before dinner time, so about 4 hours. That’s the equivalent to 10,000 years in a toddler’s mind.
Overnight they hadn’t made much headway, but Elise could tell they were more colorful. This picture was taken at breakfast and Elise stared at them all through the meal. “Drink, flowers, drink.” Yep, she remembered it from yesterday and it’s still her flower mantra.
After lunch, we took another picture (around 1 in the afternoon) and the red had made quite a bit more progress than the blue – or so we thought.
We took our last shot while we were prepping for dinner. I did take them out to snip the ends, but left the same water in.
Elise was quite impatient at this point, wanting to color them with her markers. Although a great idea, I explained that the experiment would be over and she begrudgingly dropped the idea.
We dropped it down to taking one shot a day from here on out. There was no scientific reason for doing so, we were just busy.
Because we are gluttons for punishment going out of town for the Memorial Day holiday, I cut the bottoms of the flowers in the morning. I left the same water in because I got distracted and then ran out of time.
We came back to the house after our holiday travel, and Elise was so excited that they had deepened a great deal more.
Here they are still on our table, more than a week later, and we talk about them a couple of times a day. “Drink, flowers, drink” is still quite a popular meal time chant.
For some variations and more detail about the experiment you can do, check out one of my favorite sites, Steve Spangler Science and his colorful carnations experiment.
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