Just experimenting

R and I haven’t done much in the way of science. Because, well, you know, she’s two. We have tried a few fun little ‘experiments’ though, and I can see us doing more quite soon as she’s getting more and more interested in the world around her and how it works.
A little while ago we tried making kitchen fireworks. Which is not as scary as it sounds. We got some glasses, some water, some oil – vegetable oil was recommended but we used sunflower oil – and some food colouring. You pour room temperature water into the glass, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the glass. Then add the oil until there’s about an inch of oil on top of the water – then add a few drops of food colouring.
What is supposed to happen is that the drops of colour go slowly through the oil and then kind of explode when they get to the water. That didn’t quite happen with ours – it went pretty well with one glass, but in the other, they just kind of swirled around. I think that there wasn’t quite enough oil in it and the water was a little too cold. It didn’t matter much, though, as R seemed fascinated with the colours mixing together and enjoyed sticking a paintbrush in and turning it all to muddy greenish-brown water. The other one was really pretty and we watched the drops for quite a while.

Experiments with oil, water and colour

Watching the experiment unfold

I think if I do it again I will make sure the water is truly room temperature (I was a little bit impatient to get experimenting) and I will also use vegetable rather than sunflower oil to see if that makes a difference. It was still a nice activity, even though it didn’t work out perfectly.


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