Do you remember the word Chromatography from your primary school days? It essentially means the method of separating different parts of chemical mixtures onto an absorbent material. We will see chromatography in action through this Chromatography Butterflies activity. But we won’t end there. This science experiment will become an adorable craft for preschoolers, as we create butterflies out of the chromatography paper used.
What you need to create Chromatography Butterflies:
- Paper towels
- Water based pens or markers
- Shallow cup containing approximately 1-2 tablespoons of water
- Clothes pin
- Pipe cleaners
- Optional: Ribbon
How to make Chromatography Butterflies:
Let’s start off with Chromatography….
- Take one sheet of paper towel. Fold it in quarters, then cut the corners in a curve. Open it and as it is folded in half, snip out a triangular shape from the middle and open side (see photos below).
- Let your child draw on the paper towel. It can be deliberate. It can be crazy doodles. It can be using one color or many colors.
- Bunch up the paper towel and dip the middle portion into the water. Let it stand with that middle portion dipped in water and the rest of the paper towel leaning on the sides of the bowl. Let the kids observe chromatography in action. They will see how the colors spread and separate from the middle of the paper towel to the sides.
- When the colors have reached the tips of the paper towel, remove this from the bowl and allow the artwork to dry.
A brief explanation: The water acts as a solvent. The solvent allows the pen’s ink to be absorbed by the paper towel. And in the process, the chemicals that make up the color of the pen are separated on the paper towel. This was mostly evident with the paper towel that had purple pen scribbles on it. The kids noticed that the color purple separated into blue and pink.
When the paper towels are dry, it’s time to create the Chromatography Butterflies Craft….
- Bunch up the paper towel, by pressing together the top and bottom straight sides of the paper towel.
- Secure this with a clothes pin. Insert a bent pipe cleaner onto the mouth of the clothes pin as well. This acts as the butterflies antennae.
- Optional: To cover up the clothes pin, glue a small piece of ribbon on top of the clothes pin.
Wasn’t this an engaging science experiment and cute craft as well? We love learning through fun activities, so if you’d like to get more play based learning and craft ideas from Kidz Activities, follow Kidz Activities on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Find more Hands-on STEM Activities for Kids on Left Brain Craft Brain…
This post contains affiliate links