Create banners with natural materials while also exploring plant pigments- such a fun way to combine art and science! Kids will create all kinds of designs using leaf and flower pounding, and turn their creations into something they can hang up right at home.
For this week’s science activity we are going to learn about plant pigments. When we’re done, we’ll be turning our learning into an art project, just as we did with our Chromatography Butterflies.
- white fabric
- wooden board
- old newspaper
- hammer or mallet
- flowers and leaves
- sticks, string and sewing machine or glue (for making the spring art)
- Gather different flowers, leaves and grasses from outside. Set them aside as you set up a work area.
- Lay down your wooden board and place a sheet of newspaper on top.
3. Arrange the items you collected from outside in any way you’d like.
4. Cover the arrangement with the white fabric.
5. Use your hammer or mallet to pound the fabric. (Please be careful of fingers and toes when doing this.) What do you think will happen? Why?
6. Observe what happens as you pound the different areas of the fabric.
7. When you are finished, remove your fabric and brush off remaining pieces of flowers and leaves. Let your fabric dry.
8. Now that you’re finished experimenting, why not turn your creations into some spring art by making them into little banners!
- Fold down the top of the fabric about one inch and pin in place. Sew or glue the edge of the folded fabric down, creating a tunnel or pocket.
- Find a stick or use a dowel and insert it through the tunnel, as if you were placing a curtain on a curtain rod.
- Tie one piece of string to each end of the stick. Now you have a spring banner!
– A wooden or plastic hammer or mallet would definitely be easier for young children.
– Yellow and purple flowers usually turn out the brightest and tend to keep their color on the fabric over time.
What’s Going On?
Pigment molecules (carotenoids and anthocyanins) give flowers the colors we see. The green in leaves is from the pigment, chlorophyll. Pounding the flowers and leaves causes the pigment to be released and then dyes our fabric.
Question to Spark More Curiosity & Critical Thinking
What happened when you pounded the leaves and flowers? Did certain colors come out better than others?
Want to go even further?
Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages.
- Try leaf and flower pounding on paper. You can turn the artwork into greeting cards!
- Why do you think flowers are important? Go to the library or online with a parent and read about the importance of flowers.
- Here is a good explanation of the different pigments in plants.