Thursday, February 7, 2013

Science for Pre-school Artists

My preschooler had just finished her masterpieces, and now I was faced with the challenge of mitigating hazard paint covered brushes in a rented kitchen, with the help of a tired toddler. It seems to me that landlords everywhere could save themselves some hassle and money by using scrub-able paint. A large percentage of people who rent homes have children. Children touch walls.

If mothers,like myself, have the ability, we will clean the walls. However, if the paint comes off with water, the whole endeavor becomes much more frustrating. Skip the other "high-end" finishes. Give me a glossy finish paint, and I'll be happy.

However, on this particular day, I was left with flat paint on the walls, and wet paint on the brushes. When my little artist was finished with her work, I took an old water bottle full of clean water and placed it on the newspaper.  Then I told her to swish the brushes in the bottle.

This is what the bottle looked like right after we finished rinsing all of our brushes in it.

This little activity was followed by lots of questions from both of us. What is actually happening when you rinse out a paint brush? (diffusion leading to equilibrium How does this paint relate with the water? (dissolution due to the force caused by water's polarity)  Why does the water retain it's blue color while the sparkles all congregate at the bottom? (The colored particles attach to the water.  The sparkles don't attach to the water, and they're more dense.  This means the force of gravity effects them more than the force of the water molecules.)  Why didn't they do that in the paint bottle? (The density of paint is higher than that of water.)  And, most importantly, "Can we do it again?"  

That evening the water stayed blue, but the sparkles had settled to the bottom.

Of course, if you turned it upside down, they spread out through the water again, then settled to the bottom again.

The result was happily like a snow globe, and we enjoyed watching it over and over. Much better than looking at the walls anyway. 

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I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.