Changing a Flower's Appearance: Activity

Looking for a new, fun, and educational activity for Mother's or Father's Day this year? Flowers. Yes, grab yourself a white flower or two and come and have a read on how to make them into something special with your class
(and it even combines a bit of science and art)!

I love trying new ideas and this was one I spotted on Pinterest a while ago but hadn't had a chance to have a go with.

As most teachers know, we have so much on our plates that it is difficult to teach the curriculum without having to drop an afternoon of work to make cards and a gift. Most teachers though will also know that we probably get the least amount of say in the matter of what we do in our own classroom. *sigh*

So, with Mother's Day fast approaching it was time to put on the thinking cap to make it education. To make the afternoon "educational" I had the students use a handwriting lesson to create their cards for their mum (or grandma and also for an aunt) and used their final piece as a writing assessment. It worked well as I was able to clearly read each card but they were all personalised as well.

Then there is the gift. I am not the type of teacher who loves art and craft. The mere mention of it sends chills down my spine! The mess! The headache! Argh!!! To avoid this frustration I took the changing a flower's colour idea from this Pinterest Pin.

To make the flower change...

What You Need

  • Large white flowers (carnations, roses, etc)

  • Food colouring

  • 6 glass bowls (more if you have a larger class; plastic would work as well but I find glass cleans up easier)

I used white carnations (as that was what they recommended) but here in Australia at Mother's Day trying to locate 30 white carnations was no small feat and set me back a tidy $35.00 (thank goodness for teacher expenses). I would think any white flower would do the trick such as white roses - for a simpler flower you could try white daisies or irises.

What We Did

  1. Each flower was trimmed to have a stem between 20-25cm in height (nice bit of mathematics there for the students).

  2. We then measured out 250ml of water (I chose rainwater as I have what seems to be an endless supply but tap water would probably work as well) and poured into a glass bowl.

  3. The students were allowed to chose from yellow, blue, red and purple (mixed using red and blue) and five drops were placed in each (which I did!).

There was a quick lesson also on the primary colours for art and about mixing for basic secondary colours with the food colouring which is why we ended up with some orange and purples ones as well.

Remember that the more colouring you add, the darker the result.
I was very happy with the results but would add more
yellow colouring to have a stronger contrast.

This entire project was done as a science investigation as to how plants use water. The food colouring acts as a visual so that they can actually see how the plant draws the water up the stem. The photos shown were taken 24 hours into the experiment so you only need to plan a couple of days ahead.

The final verdict of course must be left for the mum (and other significant ladies).

The feedback I received though was very positive as most got the "how-to" from their kids along with the gift.

Yellow watercolour swatch used in the header designed by Bell Ink Designs


  1. Ooh I like the red ones!

  2. They look beautiful - I'm sure all the mums loved them ;) I've done a similar experiment with the kids using celery sticks - not nearly as pretty a result though!

  3. What a lovely thing to do with your class. I have done this experiment before and always used carnations as well - it would be interesting to try it with another flower but perhaps not when you have a class of 30 expectant children! Your results are beautiful, the kids must have been so pleased :)

  4. Oh I love this! What a great idea and something that I bet my children would really enjoy doing too! So pretty!

  5. I've seen this done so many times and always wanted to try it! Maybe in the holidays.

  6. This looks like a fun activity, what a great idea x

  7. Thoroughly Modern Grandma22 May 2018 at 09:31

    I'm sure my grandsons would love to have a go at that, fun and educational.

  8. Thanks, Miss Jenny! This is a great little experiment to do with my son, plus I get some pretty flowers at the end, too! I'll spend a little less on the flowers, though! Haha


  9. Oooh I would never have thought to do this. My eldest is actually learning about flowers in school at the mo so this will be a great activity for us to do so she can go in and wow her teacher