Our latest science experiments for kids is all about leaves! We used colored water to observe how liquids move through the leaves of plants. This post also includes a free printable recording sheet.
NGSS: Disciplinary Core Idea LS1.C
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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
- Clear cups
- Red food coloring
- Magnifying glass (optional)
- Free observation sheet (optional)
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.
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.)
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.
Here’s a close-up of one leaf over three days.
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.)
Want to go even further?
Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages.
- Try out this fun leaf experiment to find out why leaves change color.
- Use leaves to make leaf prints.
- Make some leaf rubbings to compare the shapes and patterns of leaves.
- Do a similar experiment using celery.
- Use a leaf as your canvas for artwork.