Science for Kids: Exploring How Water Travels Through Leaves

Our latest science experiments for kids is all about leaves! We used red-colored water to observe how liquids move through the leaves of plants.

NGSS: Disciplinary Core Idea LS1.C

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 Science Experiment for Kids: How Water Travels Through Leaves~ Buggy and Buddy

With all the new growth in our yard this spring, we’ve been spending lots of time outside observing all the changes. Lucy has especially been interested in the parts of plants and flowers, so we decided to look more closely at the leaves of plants and trees in our yard with a leaf experiment for kids. (Be sure to check out our other plant & flower activities: Bean Dissection Experiment, Observing Plant Growth with Bulbs, and An Invitation to Explore Flowers.)

Science for Kids: Exploring Leaves

In this science experiment for kids we’ll be observing how liquids travel through leaves over a period of three days. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Materials for Leaf Experiment

Free Observation Sheet for Exploring Leaves

Procedure for Leaf Experiment

1. Start by taking a walk outdoors and collecting various leaves.

2. Snip off the bottom of each leaf stem. Then place each leaf in a glass filled about a third of the way with water.

snip off bottom of leaf stems and place in water


3. Add red food coloring to the water. (We made our water a very dark shade of red to increase our chances of seeing changes in the leaves.)

Such a fun science experiment for spring! (Exploring how water travels through leaves~ Buggy and Buddy)


4. Observe the leaves closely. (You can use a magnifying glass if you have one.) Record your observations of how they look on Day 1 of the experiment.

5. Observe them for the next two days. Be sure to record your observations in the correct area on your observation sheet.

What’s Going On?

You should notice the red color move slowly through the leaf.

Comparison of leaf over 3 days


Here’s a close-up of one leaf over three days.

Science Experiment for Kids: How Water Travels Through Leaves~ Buggy and Buddy


The colored water was moving through the xylem tubes of the leaf. The xylem tubes of plants transport water and minerals up from the roots through the entire plant. (Their thick walls also provide support for the plant.)

Science Experiment for Kids: How Water Travels Through Leaves~ Buggy and Buddy

Want to go even further?

Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages.

Science for Kids: Exploring how water travels through a leaf (w/ FREE printable observation sheet)~

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  1. I used to do this when I was a kid! So cool!

  2. I never would have thought to do something like this! I love it. :-)

  3. Svetlana says:

    We experimented with white flowers and used red green blue and yellow food coloring. Children loved it.

  4. I love this experiment – very clever!

  5. Love the simplicity of this science activity! I can’t wait to add it to our collection of ‘works.’

  6. Neat! We’ve done this experiment with flowers before, but not leaves. We’ll have to put that on our list of things for this summer. Thanks for sharing at the after school link party.

  7. So simple and so brilliant!


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