Celery & Food Coloring Experiment

It all started with the little water dropper that came in our “Colorful Inspiration” Kiwi Crate.  My 4 year-old son pleaded to open his crate, specifically because he wanted to play with his pipette.

So, we used it to mix colored water, an activity that can seemingly keep him occupied for eternity, or at least until he’s reached mixing saturation indicated by all water turning a dark-brownish purple color. We’ve done this a few times.

This time I wanted to see if we could learn about something new using the colored water, so I searched one of our favorite blogs and found a cool-looking celery experiment on TinkerLab.

When I told H we were going to do a celery experiment, he was ready to get chopping! After a bit of thought, I decided to let him cut the veggies himself. The lesson turned out to be a good one in knife safety! He was feeling like such a big boy.


Next he added food color to water and watched wide-eyed as clouds of primary colors swirled around in the clear liquid. Though a simple action, it’s a nice way to introduce the concept of density since the dye sinks to the bottom of the glass.

Now it was time to soak the celery in the dye.


And wait… So in the meantime, he mixed more colored water using the little dropper that jump-started our science project adventure.


And after about 20 minutes, we started checking out our celery.

I was attempting the best way to photograph the teeny dots of color from the end of the stalk, when H grabbed a stalk, ripped it open, and clearly exposed the inside of the celery.

After about an hour, the dye had made its way into the leafy green tops. I set it on the table so H could discover the change on his own. When he did, he was thrilled and excitedly explained to Dad, “The blue water got to the leaves because of the teeny tiny tubes sucking the water up like a straw!”

If you leave the celery in the dye overnight, the leaves get almost completely saturated by color. We were all amazed by the vibrant blue-colored leaves. In the picture below, I placed a green leaf to the lower right for comparison.

The science: When you water the soil of your plants, how does the water travel from the soil into the plant and out to the leaves? Tiny tubes (xylem) draw the water up from the roots like a straw. It works by a capillary action. The water molecules suck up inside the tiny tubes and move up and out to the leaves as if someone was sucking on the end of the tubes. The suction actually occurs as a result of water in the leaves evaporating very slowly.

Make Your Own Slime!

My kids love cool (/ gross!) sensory activities, and so I’m always on the lookout for fun things to explore together.  We’ve explored oobleck here before, and when I saw this project for homemade slime on this awesome site, I knew we had to check it out during the Halloween season.

* Elmer’s glue
* 2 disposable cups
* Food coloring (any color) – note: this works just fine without food coloring – you just get white slime – and you don’t have to worry about staining clothes or fingers
* Water
* Borax Powder (available at most large grocery stores near the laundry detergent)
* A tablespoon (for measuring)

Start by filling one of your cups up with water, and stir one spoonful of Borax into the water.

Then, put about an inch of glue into the other cup.

Add three tablespoons of water to the glue and stir.

If you would like colored slime, add a few drops of food coloring to the glue mixture.  We added 8-10 drops to get a deep green.  BUT, if you would like to be able to play with the slime without the worry of food coloring stains, you can just skip the food coloring and stick to WHITE, GHOSTLY SLIME.

Then, add one tablespoon of the Borax mixture into the glue mixture.  Stir well and observe how the watery glue begins to solidify just a little and turn into slime.  Depending on how much glue you put into your cup, you may need to add a bit more Borax solution.  Go slowly on adding the Borax stuff — your glue mixture will go from slime to solid pretty quickly (as ours began to.)

Whoa – so cool!!

Let your slime sit for a minute or so, then you can pull it out and play with it!  Our fingers did get a little stained from the food coloring, so I would probably skip the food coloring next time.  Also, you can put the slime in a ziplock bag for storage — or as a mess-free way to play.
Want to understand / explain what’s going on?  From Science Bob: “Now for the SCIENCE part…. This POLYMER is unique because it has qualities of both a solid and a liquid. It can take the shape of its containers like a liquid does, yet you can hold it in your hand and pick it up like a solid. As you might know, solid molecules are tight together, liquid molecules spread out and break apart (drops) POLYMER molecules CHAIN themselves together (they can stretch and bend like chains) and that makes them special. Jell-O, rubber bands, plastic soda bottles, sneaker soles, even gum are all forms of polymers. The polymer you made should be kept in a sealed plastic bag when you aren’t playing with it. Also, be sure to keep it away from young kids or pets who might think it’s food.”




What are your favorite sensory activities?

Welcome to the Kiwi Crate blog!

As busy moms, we know how hard it is to come up with fun hands-on activities to do with your kids, let alone get the materials! Kiwi Crate is designed to spark kids’ natural creativity and curiosity with hand-selected and kid-tested projects and materials. We created KiwiCrate because we want to make it fun and easy to spend “healthy,” delightful time building, exploring and creating together.

We’ll post fun activities for your kids and update you on news about Kiwi Crate. If you have activities you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!