Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Flower Power


Flower Power

It has been a very long and very cold winter. Help lift everyone’s spirits with this colorful home experiment that transforms the color of carnation flowers or celery stems. Talk about how plants and flowers “drink” water by taking it up the stem of the plant. Try mixing different drops of food coloring in the same cup of water to make secondary colors such as purple.


  • several plain white carnations (or several sticks of celery with leaves)
  • food coloring
  • water
  • mason jars, vases or tall drinking glasses


  1. Add about 20-30 drops of food coloring to each of the cups of water (red, blue, and green)
  2. Before placing any of the flowers in the cups of water, have an adult trim the stem of each flower at an angle to create a fresh cut. Try to cut the stem while it is underwater. (If air gets into the stem, the water will not travel as well up the stem to color the flower.)
  3. Place a freshly cut white carnation in each of the cups of colored water and check on the flowers every few hours to see what happens. Save a couple white carnations for the idea below.

Other Ideas

Have an adult helper use a sharp knife to slit the stem of a carnation straight down the middle. Put each half of the stem into a cup of different colored water. See what happens to the flower. Read Lois Ehlert’s Planting a Rainbow to learn about the names and colors of flowers. Go to the store to pick out seed packets to plant in your garden this spring!

–Anjie G. at KDL’s Walker Branch



This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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Written by Ali


Ali is a Collection Development Paraprofessional at KDL. She loves cookbooks and memoirs.

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