art,  experiments,  food coloring,  science

Art that is actually science

Since I’m talking about using food coloring as an art supply this week, I really wanted to share a food coloring tie dye activity – but then I tried it myself and it was an absolute disaster. I’m currently trying to bleach the dye out of some white shirts that weren’t supposed to be dyed…

Since I can’t very well recommend that activity, I thought I’d share one that I know is a tried and true hit.  This one has been seen all over the internet, so I definitely can’t claim the idea – nor would I try to – but I can show you some really great pictures of it and share my own personal experiences.

I’ve yet to meet a preschooler who doesn’t love the old vinegar and baking soda experiment.  My favorite variation is to fill a tray (or cookie sheet in this case) with baking soda and use colored vinegar – colored with food coloring of course – and an eye dropper to explore the reaction and the subsequent color mixing.

I honestly let them go for it – after the vinegar had all been used they were still interested, so they stirred the wet baking soda with the eye droppers, eventually they forgot about the eye droppers and got their hands right into the mess.  They learned so much; the initial baking soda and vinegar reaction, the color mixing, the concept that all of the colors mixed together makes a muddy gray color, that they could make “rivers” in the baking soda by dragging the eye droppers through it, what wet baking soda felt like in their hands, how strong the smell of vinegar could be, and that the food coloring would dye their hands that same muddy gray for a couple of days.

So no, the finished product didn’t look like the bright, colorful versions that you see on Pinterest, but it wasn’t really about the finished product at all, it was about the process that led to all of these discoveries!

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