World Play Day - 28 May - Activity 4

At Uviwe we always try to please, and so far we have posted activities for sensory play dough, a cool experiment with milk, and bath activities to delight a wide range of children.  Today we are going to focus a little more on the older children, and the scientists among them.  

This being said though, it is not to say that the younger ones won't enjoy doing or watching some of these, and lets face it, you are never too young, (or too old) to learn something new.  Also, seeing as we posted 4 activities in yesterday's blog, we can't leave our audience hanging, so today will include another 4 activities for you to do or make with your kiddies.  So put on your thinking caps and lets do science...



What you need:

  • A clear, clean plastic bottle, (like an Oros or Energade bottle), with the label removed.
  • A couple of drops of dishwashing liquid
  • A marble (or round stone)
  • A little glitter (optional - just to make it pretty)

What to do:

  • Fill the bottle just over half way full with water
  • Add the dishwashing liquid, marble and glitter
  • Close the cap tightly
  • Give the bottle a good shake to create some foam
  • Turn the bottle upside down, hold the top of the bottle and rotate the bottle in a clockwise motion to make the marble spin around the bottom of the bottle. This should make the water swirl to simulate a tornado.


  • The marble pulls downwards to create the vortex
  • The foam and the glitter make the motion of the water more apparent
  • Kids love this as a toy, our one currently resides in the toy box and I check it periodically for leaks


Colour Ice

What you need

  • A plastic 2 litre bottle cut in half. 
  • Or any other container in which you can freeze some water to create an ice brick.  This can be any size or shape.
  • Water to freeze
  • Coarse salt, (Table salt also works, but not as well)
  • Some food colouring

Ice Castle

What to do:

  • Freeze the water overnight to create your ice block
  • Loosen the ice from your container with a little warm water
  • Place the ice block on a tray if you are working inside, to catch the melted water, or work outside in the garden
  • Start by dropping your salt crystals on the ice, a little or a lot, in any pattern that you like.
  • Where you have placed the salt, drop one or two drops of food colouring
  • Watch the magic happen

What happens:

  • The salt melts the ice much faster than the ambient temperature and so creates channels in the ice
  • The colour runs into these channels, highlighting them and making the ice look so pretty
  • Talk about melting and freezing, how people in colder climates use salt to melt ice and snow, how cold feels, how water changes into ice, the different properties of ice and water, (e.g. water can take any shape, ice holds it shape etc.)
  • Enjoy the wonderful art work


What you need:

  • An empty, square or rectangular plastic container
  • 3 empty drinking glasses
  • Some water
  • A couple of pieces of paper towel
  • Some koki pens or magic markers
  • A little food colouring

What you do:

  • Tear off a section of paper towel and make some dots, using the coloured pens in a line about 2 fingers from the bottom of the sheet. Fold the top of the paper towel over the container so the dots are inside the container but not resting on the bottom. Slowly pour some water in until it is just over the bottom of the bottom of the paper towel.
  • Absorption1
  • Watch carefully. The water slowly makes its way up the paper towel towards the dots. Watch what happens when the water reaches the dots…the colour in the dots starts rising! This is because the towel is absorbing the water and taking the ink with it…how cool is that! Eventually the water will make its way through the entire sheet.
  • Absorption2
  • Let’s do another experiment…fill one cup with water and stir in some food colouring, any colour you like. Roll up a paper towel and place one end in the cup with water and the other in the empty cup beside it.
  • Watch as the colour water travels up the paper towel and makes its way into the empty cup…eventually both cups will have the same amount of colour water…totally amazing!
  • Absorption3
  • Ok let’s go wild and fill 2 cups with water, add blue food colouring to one cup and yellow food colouring to the other. Put an empty cup in between them. Roll 2 paper towels. Place the end of one towel into the blue food colouring and one end of the other towel in the yellow food colouring. Bend both the towels and put the loose ends into the empty cup and watch the magic happen. As the coloured water is absorbed in the towel it makes its way up and then into the empty cup. The blue and yellow food colouring combine making green water
  • Absorption4


  • Talk about how plants absorb water to live.
  • Look at how color mixes to make new colours
  • Try this with different materials, like tissue paper, wax paper, writing paper  etc. and talk about what happens.


Moving away from the ice and water and food colouring, our last experiment involves growing and soil.

What you need:

  • An empty plastic CD case
  • Some potting soil, very wet 
  • Grass seeds
  • Paint, glitter glue, stickers etc to decorate with
  • A rubber band

What to do:

  • Decorate the CD case however you want to with stickers, paint glitter, etc.
  • Cd Case
  • Hand squeeze the potting soil and gently fill the CD case one third full
  • Add about a teaspoon of grass seeds
  • Close and wrap a rubber band around it to keep it closed.
  • Place it on a sunny windowsill and watch the magic happen
  • You can carefully open it to add water when needed
  • Grass


  • This is a wonderful activity to show children how plants grow, and to teach a little patience
  • And a lovely present to make.

Remember that an important part of play is really engaging with and spending time with your children.  What better way to spend your day than discovering new things through the wonder in your child's eyes, away from t.v., computer, game and phone screens.

Go out there and explore with your children, learn how they experience their worlds and these experiments, and above all - have fun.

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