Carnation Osmosis

Carnation Osmosis
Photo by: masamom

sumana Submitted by: sumana

Children will develop an understanding of how water travels through the stem to other parts of the plant.

500 minutes
36 - 60 months
Group size
0 - 8 tots


  • 1 Long-stem White Carnation (1 carnation per water bottle)
  • 1 Empty Water Bottle (1 water bottle for each different color used)
  • 1 set Food Coloring (Assorted colors)
  • 1 pair Scissors (Adult Use Only)
  • 1 piece White paper, folded into fourths (This will be used to draw the carnation's progress.)


  1. Remove label from water bottle and fill about 1/3 full of water.
  2. Add enough food coloring to create a vibrant color (10-20 drops). Encourage child to help count as the drops are put in.
  3. Secure lid on water bottle. Gently shake bottle to mix food coloring with water. Once mixed, remove lid.
  4. Cut the stem at an angle to aid in water absorption.
  5. Help the child place the carnation into the colored water.
  6. Ask child to draw a picture of how the carnation looks at the start of the experiment. Label this picture "Start".
  7. Check every 2-3 hours for progress. At first notice of color change, ask child to draw a picture of how the carnation looks now and record the number of hours it has been in the colored water.
  8. Continue observation and recording until color transformation is complete. Make sure to record how the carnation looks at different time intervals.
  9. Once complete, ask child to look at his or her "Start" and "End" drawings and describe how the flower's appearance changed.
Associated Activity
Create a rainbow of osmosis carnations by repeating the experiment in several water bottles with different colors. Encourage discussion about the different rates of color absorption for each bottle.

Original Source


Developmental skills