Mini Monets and Mommies: Oil and Water Kids' Art and Science Experiment

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Oil and Water Kids' Art and Science Experiment

Okay, so we all pretty much know that oil and water don’t mix. But, does your child know? This kids’ science exploration also doubles as an easy art activity!

Children's art

To be honest, this activity didn’t exactly turn out as planned. The beginning idea was to explore marbling paper – with regular ol’ items that you’d have in your kitchen. That said, it didn’t go so well. The marbling part never really happened.

That’s okay. If I had a penny for every failed art activity – well, you can figure out the rest. Art activities don’t always come wrapped in a pretty little box with a perfectly curled ribbon on top. They can be messy and they often have completely unexpected results. But, that’s the joy of art!

This combines both art and science into one discovery-oriented activity. Start it off by making a few predictions. Ask your child what he thinks will happen when he adds the oil to the water. Will it mix into one new liquid? Won’t it? Why or why not? You’ll be adding food coloring later. When you get to that step, stop and ask him to again predict what will happen.

Keep in mind, this is an exploration and not a project where your child ‘make something’. Snap a few pics along the way. This gives you something concrete to remember. It also allows you to document the process. Print the photos, hang them up and use them as a starting point for a discussion later on. You won’t have an actual concrete ‘project’ to talk about, so doing this lets you reinforce the learning – even after clean-up time.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        A shallow pan – we used a shallow pie pan

·        Water

·        Veggie, olive or canola oil

·        Food coloring

·        Something to stir with – we used a chopstick, put you can also use a spoon, a straw or a stick

Here’s What to Do:

1. Fill the bottom of the pan with a shallow layer of water.

2. Drop a few drops of oil into the water. Watch what happens.
Science experiment

3. Stir the oil. Again, watch what happens. After your child has made a few observations, add some more oil to see what happens.

4. Drip food coloring into the oil and water. Start with the primary colors if possible (red, yellow and blue). Drip the first color in. Watch what happens. Drip in the next, and so on. Let your child see what the colors do, before he starts stirring. Observe, and talk about how they move and if they mix or don’t. Let him to tell you why he thinks this happens.

art activity
5. Stir the colors. Start slowly, seeing what new colors come from the primaries. Ask your child to tell you what he thinks will happen if he continues to stir them.
Color mixing

6. Keep stirring.

Science exploration
Make a point of exploring how the water and oil affect the color mixing. You can add to this kids’ science and art activity by making a second pan that just uses water and food coloring (in other words, don’t add the oil). Compare and contrast how the two are different, asking your child why he thinks the liquids behave the way they do.

How did your child’s oil and water color mixing experiment turn out? This is what happened to ours! Tell us what happened with yours, and share your child’s art and science experience in the comments section below.
art activity


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