Spring is the ideal time to do some plant science with your toddlers and preschoolers. From growing beans in a jar to see the roots to looking at the conditions that plants needs to grow. However, one of my favourite experiments to do is to look at plants drinking.

Daffodils are an ideal plant to use with toddlers and preschoolers as you can often find them and the paler the daffodil or narsius the better the results of this simple experiment will be. So here we go a simple plant science experiment for toddlers and preschoolers to look at how plants drink.

If you are looking to explore this more in-depth exploring the process and examining the xylem and phloem in detail, then it is much easier to do this with a transpiration experiment with celery.

Daffodil Experiment

We always called this is the daffodil experiment as children and we would repeat it every spring to remind us of the fact that plants use the stems to “drink” up the water. It’s really easy to set up and the effect can be fantastic.

Materials Needed for this Simple Plant Science Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers

toddler holding a daffodil he has picked looking at the pollen on his hands
  • Daffodil (the paler the better)
  • Jar
  • Water
  • Food colouring – a none natural food colouring works better as the particles are smaller and can travel up the stem

This experiment can also be done with carnations which are an excellent flower for seeing the movement of the water through the stem check out our How do Plants Drink Experiment for preschool for more information.

How to Set up your Spring Science Experiment for Toddlers and Preschoolers

daffodil in a jar of water with food colouring a simple set up for a plant transpiration experiment that even toddlers will love to watch
  1. In a jar mix together your water and food colouring
  2. Cut the daffodil stem at an angle and place in the water
  3. Put the daffodil on a windowsil
  4. Wait 24 – 48 hours
  5. Examine the petals of the daffodil
daffodil at the end of a 48 hours placed in a jar with coloured water showing the movement of the water up the stem and into the petals. The veins on the petals as well as the evaporation points are easily visible dyed by the food colouring in the water.

What you will find is that the daffodil petals have got at the minimum small dots around the outside of them the colour of the food colouring. If you have a thin and pale daffodil then you will also probably be able to see the vessels in the petals that the water and food colouring has travelled up.

The back of the daffodil showing the vessels that the food colouring has travelled up in the water as blue/green lines and dots where the veins end

Don’t forget to check out the transpiration experiment linked in the green box above for a full explanation of the science behind this simple science for toddlers and preschoolers.

close up for the trumpet of a daffodil which has been used in a simple science experiment for toddlers to show that plants drink up water through the stem

Books to Read Alongside this Experiment

We love to combine books with our activities and have picked 3 of our favourite books that are great to share with your toddlers and preschoolers whilst you carry out this experiment.

We have included affiliate links to some of the products and resources as an associate we may earn from qualifying purchases.

More Simple Science for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Science for toddlers and preschoolers is all about exploring the world around and introducing them to it through fun hands on activities why not try some of these other ideas that are simple and easy to do.

Simple Science at home - growing beans in a jar observing plant growth from the seed up
Hands on toddler science
Collecting and raising frog spawn to froglets in your own home. Simple low cost Nature activity for kids to do in Spring at home or in the classroom

More Ideas for Daffodils

If you have a few daffodils apart from observing them in the garden and picking for indoors how about trying some of these other ideas.

Spring Art Project for Toddlers and Preschoolers to paint Daffodils. Ideal as a St David's Day project for your tots.
Spring nature study for kids inspired by the book Up in the Garden Down in the Dirt
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

17 Comments

  1. You and P always loved doing this as did the children in school. I’m sure that J enjoyed it. All the science projects you are doing are great for building up observation skills and scientific curiousity. You could also try celery for this experiment.

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