Prep: 3 Minutes / Activity Time: 2-3 Minutes

Does your child love to experiment and create new things? If so, this activity has the right combination of science, art and math. Help your little investigator develop and control the fine muscles in her fingers that are so important for learning to grip and control a pencil or crayon.

  • food coloring in plastic squeeze bottles (in different colors)
  • four small containers of water (child-size paper cups work great)
  • placemat, or something to protect the table or counter space from spills
  • eyedropper
  • coffee filter
  • twisty tie

Step 1: Prepare your area by placing all materials on a placemat or covered surface. Fill each of the small containers with a small amount of water.

Step 2: Invite your child to choose a bottle. Ask her if she knows what color is inside the bottle. Show her how to squeeze or pinch the food coloring bottle so that a drop or two falls into the water. You might say:

I wonder what color is inside this bottle! Can you squeeze it and let a drop fall out?  

Step 3: Hand her the eye dropper and ask her to stir the water. You might ask:

What color do you see?

Step 4: Use the eyedropper to gather some water. Move the eyedropper over the coffee filter and ask your child to squeeze the dropper to release the water.

Step 5: Repeat with different colors to create a colorful pattern. To make it even more fun, bunch the coffee filter up in the middle and use a twisty tie to keep the middle tightly bound. Congratulations! You just made a beautiful butterfly.  


Help your child squeeze the food coloring bottles and the eyedropper.

Let your child practice using the eyedropper to gather the water. Show him that to gather the water he has to squeeze the bulb tightly, and then let it go.