Whether your kids love science or tend to be a little intimidated by it, art projects can be a great way to introduce new scientific concepts and ideas, allowing kids to engage the left and right parts of their brains at the same time. In the third part of the MakIt Blog’s series on educational art projects, we discuss a number of creative ways to bring science into the home through the power of art. Your kids will never have believed science could be this much fun!
1) Gravity Makes Art
Cap from glue bottle
Colored paint (thin)
Empty soda bottle
Large sheet of paper
Gravity is one of science’s most basic concepts, and it affects everything your child (and everyone else, of course) does. Before beginning this art project, briefly discuss what gravity is, how it works, and how it impacts everything in the world around them. Then it’s time to show them the proof! Start by filling an empty soda bottle with some colored paint. Once you’ve set up the tripod with a large sheet of blank paper underneath, screw the lid from a glue bottle onto your soda bottle and attach it upside-down from the tripod with rope so that it can swing.
With your child eagerly watching, help them to set the pendulum into motion. They’ll be amazed by the beautiful patterns gravity causes the falling paint to make. You can then try different mediums to introduce the concept of viscosity, experiment with rope lengths, and swing the pendulum at different speeds. This art project is guaranteed to expand your child’s imagination—and understanding of a fundamental scientific idea.
2) Painting Daisies
Food coloring or liquid watercolor
White flowers (daisies, carnations, etc.)
Flowers lovers will adore this little project, and a lover of science will be dying to know how it works! Begin by cutting the stems of your white flowers to fairly short lengths and at an angle so they can easily soak up water. Fill several jars with water and different colors of food coloring/liquid watercolor. Place the white flowers in the jars, and just wait! In no time (a few hours at most) your child will see the flowers’ changing color!
When your child asks in amazement how this works, it’s time to introduce the idea of transpiration: how plants drink water. Afterward, you can experiment further by cutting one of the flower’s stems down its center and placing each half in differently dyed jars of water to introduce the topic of color mixing. After an art-science project like this, your child will never look at flowers the same way again!
3) Leaf Currency
Bowl/glass with a wide base
Think you have a future botanist on your hands? Help your child learn the scientific names of various plants with this fun outdoors art project. The next time you go on a walk with your child, bring a plant guidebook along for the ride and aid your child in identifying the leaves they choose. Once you procure an assortment of interesting leaves, come back home and get to work! Take the polymer clay and form it into balls, and then place a ball of clay between two pieces of wax paper and squish it into a disc under the bowl/glass. Remove the top layer of wax paper and carefully place a leaf onto the clay, replacing the paper, and flattening the clay again with the bowl/glass.
Then, flip the clay over, remove the bottom layer, and use a toothpick to etch the plant’s scientific name into the clay. After peeling away both layers pieces of wax paper, carefully remove the leaf with tweezers, and bake the clay according to the directions on its packaging. You’ll be left with beautiful, fossilized examples of the nature that surrounds you. Your child will love seeing the leaves they chose sculpted into something permanent!
Latest posts by Nona Taut (see all)
- Light Up Learning! 4 Ways to Make Lanterns for Ramadan - June 18, 2015
- When the Shadows Get Shorter: 4 Projects to Celebrate the Summer Solstice - June 11, 2015
- Dads Deserve Thanks! 4 DIY Gifts for Father’s Day - June 5, 2015