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Explore and Play: Flower Power

Put the stem of a flower in dyed water and find out what happens.


  • 3 clear plastic/glass vases or jars
  • 3 white carnations cut short, leaving about 2–3 inches of stem
  • 2 colors of food coloring

Key Science Concepts

  • Water is absorbed by plants.


  1. Fill two vases with water and add a large amount of food coloring to each of the two vases. Use a different color in each vase.  
  2. Have children put a carnation in each vase.
  3. Have a child add a flower to the third vase, but do not add any water or food coloring to the vase.
  4. Place the vases in the Indoor Garden learning center. 

Reflect and Share

Ask children, Why do we put cut flowers in water? What do you think will happen to the flower that has no water? We added colored water to the vases. What do you think might happen to flowers if they are put in colored water like this? Why do you think that? Tell them that you’ll check back on Monday to see what happens to the flowers.

(Doing this activity on a Friday gives the carnations several days to absorb the colored water. The color will be faint but noticeable.) Revisit the activity during Closing Circle time the following Monday.