Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

This is a really lovely science experiment you can do with your kids

A little food dye, a little water, a little patience – a rainbow-coloured surprise.

IT BEING SCIENCE Week and all, we’ve been setting the adults among us some brainteasers each evening.

But we think that when it comes to kids, practicals are more fun. This is something that has been brightening up office this week – a small experiment that demonstrates how plants transport water up their stems to reach and hydrate all parts of the plant.

All you need is some white flowers (carnations or chrysanthemums are good), four pots of food dye and small jam jars or holders.

(And possibly the ability to ignore a colleague who will scoff as you wrestle with food dye and say, ‘Pffft, I did that one in primary school.)

Source: Susan Daly/

1. Fill the holders three-quarters way with water.

2. Add two dessertspoons of gel or liquid dye to the water and mix it up.

Source: Susan Daly/

3. Make sure the ends of the stems are freshly cut, and pop them into each container.

4. And so the waiting begins…

The next day…

Day Three…

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Even the stems are showing signs of the dye through the dark green…

Day Four…

The experiment shows how water travels up through the xylem to reach the leaves and petals of the flowers. And it makes for a nice decoration. QED.

Thanks to Science Week for the flowers & dye :)

Science Week brainteasers on>

About the author:

Read next: