Questions to Ask
When beginning the process, ask the children how the ingredients feel.

Do they remind them of anything else? Examine each with a magnifying glass. Ask them to describe what they see. How are they alike? How are they different?

Examine the completed “painting” and ask the children to predict how long it will take to dry. Where is the best place to put the wet painting? When it is dry, look at it through a magnifying glass. What do you see?

Science Connection
Food coloring, flour, and salt will mix into water and make a colored dough. The fine particles spread evenly throughout the water. As the water evaporates, the mixture dries and becomes solid again. Salt forms into crystals as it dries. The crystals are shaped like cubes with flat sides that reflect light causing the sparkle.

To explore colors and crystals

What You Need

  • 3 Squeeze bottles
  • 3 Colors of food coloring or tempera paint
  • Equal parts flour, salt, and water
  • Cardboard, wood, or old cereal box as a canvas
  • 1 Large bowl
  • 3 Small bowls
  • Spoons
  • Magnifying glass

    What to Do
    Decide what type of measuring unit you want. (You and the children might choose a paper cup, measuring cup, or jar. It does not matter which you select, as long as you use the same measuring unit throughout the process.) Ask them to measure EQUAL
    amounts of salt, flour, and water and place them in the large bowl. Stir the ingredients. Then, divide the mixture, and place equal amounts into the 3 smaller bowls. Color each third with a different color. Pour each color into a separate squeeze bottle. (You may want to use a large funnel.) Squeeze the paint mixture onto the cardboard, wood, or paper in any design.

    Crystal: Crystals are solids that form when molecules connect together in regular repeating pattern.

    Equal: The same amount

    Evaporate: To dry out the moisture. The water changes into a gas called water vapor.

    Funnel: A tool shaped like a hollow cone, with a tube extending from the small end that is used to channel the flow of a substance into the mouth of a container

    Measuring unit: Any container can be used as a standard to measure out equal volumes when the absolute volume does not matter.

    Try This
    Color the white mixture with powder paint. Does it make a difference?

    Instead of placing the paint in squeeze bottles, you might want to use it as finger paint. How does it feel? Which is more fun—finger painting or squeeze painting? How do the colors mix when using the squeeze bottles? How about when you are finger painting?

    Saturate a small amount of water with much salt. (Keep adding the salt until it will not dissolve in the water.) On a piece of black paper, paint (with a paintbrush) the salt solution. Let dry and then examine. What do you see? Try using a magnifying glass.

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