Plant Science Experiments for Kids

Science can be an exciting subject, especially for kids.

By doing some simple science experiments, kids are able to learn more about the world around them and have fun trying out new concepts. In this article, I’ll detail 4 exciting experiments that are simple, inexpensive, entertaining, and teach your child all about the wonders of static electricity.

A) Half & Half Flower

What you’ll need:
* 2 test tubes or small glasses
* A flower with white petals
* Food coloring
* Water
* Something to cut a flower stem in half

Step 1: Fill two test tubes or small glasses with water. Put a few drops of food coloring into each; I usually use red and blue.
Step2: Take a flower with white petals (I like to use carnations, because they come out looking the best) and split the stem down the middle. Make sure to stop just before reaching the flower. At this point it will look like a flower with two skinny stems.
Step 3: Place half of the stem in the blue water and half of the stem in the red water. A few hours later you will have a beautifully colored flower – half red and half blue!

Why does it work?
The stem of the flower contains tiny capillaries that transport food and water to the flower. These capillaries stay intact even when the stem is split into two halves. The water and nutrients (and dye, in this case) then travel to the petals of the flower, each stem half transporting a different color. As the petals allow the water to be given off, the dye is trapped – the result is an amazingly colored flower!

B) Vacation Watering

What you’ll need:
* A bottle (large or small, depending on the size of the area you will be watering)
* Water
* Potted plant, flower box, or a small patch of garden

Step 1: Fill a bottle with water.
Step2: Turn the bottle upside down and bury the open end a few inches into the soil of your plant(s).
Step 3: Be amazed as the plants water themselves for up to one week!

Why does it work?
When the soil is dry the water will flow and bubble out of the bottle, saturating the dirt until the soil is soaked. As time passes, and the soil becomes dry again, air will enter the bottle; you will see bubbles rise in the bottle as the soil is watered again. Now ask yourself: is it easier for water to travel through hard packed or soft soil?

C) Osmosis with Peas

What you’ll need:
* A glass (a champagne flute or wine glass produces the best effect)
* Dried peas
* Water

Step 1: Fill a glass with dried peas.
Step2: Slowly pour enough water into the glass so that the water level reaches the brim. Watch as the peas grow and topple out of the glass hour after hour!

Why does it work?
This experiment is osmosis in action! As the water penetrates through the pea skins, into the inner cells of the peas, they stretch and swell until they no longer fit in the glass all together.

The same principle applies to plant cells. Simply put, if a plant doesn’t get enough water it will wilt as the plant cells shrink and shrivel. However, when enough water is taken in by the plant, the plant cells are stretched and the plant grows and thrives.

D) Jar of Rainforest

What you’ll need:
* A freshly cut, green twig with leaves still attached
* A small glass
* A large jar
* Water
* Cooking oil

Step 1: Put a leafy green twig into a glass of water.
Step2: Pour a layer of oil slowly into the glass of water.
Step 3: Put the glass in indirect sunlight and cover it with the large jar. After a while “raindrops” will appear on the sides of the jar, creating a humid environment within the jar.

Why does it work?
By covering the water with oil, you are forcing the water droplets to come from only one place – the leaves of the twig. This is because the water in the glass cannot get through the layer of oil, and instead the water must travel through the tiny epidermal pores of the leaves. Since the moist air is then heated by the indirect sunlight, droplets appear, and you have a rainforest environment in a jar!