Experimenting at home for preschool

Sometimes I will come across an idea that I really love but can’t necesarily decide how I want to implement it in the classroom….

I have seen this idea a couple of times now with the first time being at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning.

I folded a paper towel into one long strip and then added a few colors of food color across the strip. Then I placed one end of the paper towel in a small jar of water and let it sit for a bit…

The water begins to soak up the paper towel and as it does, the food color begins to bleed across the paper towel…

I got a little impatient waiting for the water to drift across the paper towel so I stuck the other end of the paper towel in a second jar of water…

In the end, my paper towel got pretty soaked and all the colors ran together to make a pretty tie dyed look. I also ended up with a jar of yellow and a jar of blue water…

Then I took the paper towel out of the water and spread it out to dry…

So now that I have tried this at home, I will have a basic idea of what to expect should I decide to introduce the process to the children in the classroom…


There are several reasons to try something like this out before you take it to the classroom…

  1. You get a sense of how long the process will take
  2. You figure out what works and doesn’t work
  3. You get a grasp on how your students can participate in the process
  4. You can see if there is something more you would like to add to the process

By having experimented with the process on my own now – I will be more relaxed about introducing the process to the children and letting them experiment with the process. I also will want to make some plans for those colorful paper towels once they all dry. They are just too pretty to throw away!

By |2011-05-30T23:39:31+00:00May 30th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Pam ennis May 31, 2011 at 12:12 am - Reply

    another reason to try at home before the classroom was demonstrated for us last week. Although I have done bubble painting many times and had nothing go wrong. Well this time not one but two of the kids had the soap paint mixture flow back up the straw and into their mouths. Resulting in gagging and tears. Won’t be doing bubble painting in the classroom again!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 31, 2011 at 6:58 am - Reply

      Ah, don’t give up on it. Just work on teaching the children how to make sure the blow out not suck in:)

  2. Andrea May 31, 2011 at 11:02 am - Reply

    I got caught a couple of times with experiments gone awry because I forgot to test it at home first. Lesson learned!

    Pam, a good bubble painting alternative is to take your soap paint and spread it out on plates and then have the kids dip paper cups in the paint to “stamp” onto their papers. A lot of times a bubble will form inside the cup (but not always) and then pop when they press the cup down, making a splash on their paper. And the circles from the cups look like bubbles, too. My preschoolers loved it!

  3. Rachel May 31, 2011 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    We do a similar project around Valentine’s Day. After the paper towel dries, we display it in a “frame” made from cutting a large heart out of a piece of construction paper. We save the hearts for another project and tape the paper towel to the back of the “frame”. I imagine it would work with any simple seasonal/theme shape!

  4. Gladys Vega May 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    You can rinse out the paper towel, the colors will blend and the result can be beautiful butterfly wings, just add a cloths pin.

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