science · Toddler

More kitchen science

I’ve gone grocery shopping and loaded up on more bi-carb soda, vinegar, and corn flour for future experiments. But for the experiment we picked out to do last weekend, we needed celery.

We’ve tried putting celery (and flowers!) in coloured water before to see if the colour of the water will change the colour of the celery, but the science experiment book for kids suggested adding flavours to the water – lemon juice, sugar, peppermint essence, and then seeing what happened. I managed to find four large glass jars, so we put a cup of water in each, then added red food colouring to one, sugar to the second, peppermint essence to the third and kept the fourth as plain water (our control celery!).

The kids were in charge of selecting celery stalks (which meant they were a bit uneven and not as scientific as I’d like) and mixing the ingredients together. Then we popped the celery bits into the jars, and checked on them the next afternoon after school.

The water celery looked the worst but it did start out a bit floppy, so I gave it a pass. The food colouring celery looked a bit dead but that turned out to be the food colouring as the leaves still felt nice and crisp. The sugar celery looked normal, and we couldn’t smell any difference in the leaves of the peppermint celery.

red green celery
Food colouring celery on the left, sugar celery on the right.

We put them back on the window sill and checked back another day later. This time I was surprised. The water celery looked the same, the food colouring celery looked healthy but red, the sugar celery looked amazing and had lovely crisp leaves and the peppermint celery – well, clearly peppermint essence isn’t what growing plants need because it was decidedly floppy.

floppy celery
Do I need to point out the peppermint essence water is on the right?

My five year old thought that maybe since some plants produce sugar, that meant the celery could use the sugar to grow strong and remembered that I add sugar to plant water on the rare occasions that I buy a bunch of flowers. And no one wanted to taste test the peppermint celery to see if it tasted minty!

This turned out to be a long running experiment (Sunday to Wednesday which is a long time for little children to keep interested). Adding in the variations so it wasn’t just what colour is it turning made it more interesting than last time, and feeling the differences in the leaves turned out to be a hit.

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