Young children learn through play. When young children are actively involved in their own learning and having fun at it, they learn better. You can support their learning by engaging them playfully in everyday activities. The activities on our site are based on everyday experiences, use materials commonly found in the home, and most importantly designed to encourage children’s healthy development in all areas (physical, social emotional, language and literacy, and cognitive).


As your child explores this activity, praise her on the process, rather than her abilities.

What You Need:

  • Absorbable materials such as paper towels, paper plates, coffee filters

  • Non-absorbable materials such as foil, waxed paper

  • Eye dropper or small spoon

  • Food coloring

  • Small bowls of water

  • Old newspapers

What To Do:

  1. Cover the table with a thick layer of old newspapers.

  2. Add small amounts of food coloring into the bowls of water. Use one bowl for each color.

  3. Show your child how to use an eyedropper by squeezing and releasing. Let you child experiment with it by dripping colored water on the newspaper.

  4. Let her explore what happens when she drips the colored water onto a coffee filter, paper towel, or paper plate. Ask her to describe what happens.

  5. Next, let her explore what happens when she drips the colored water onto the piece of foil or waxed paper.

  6. As you watch your child, comment on her efforts and ask her if she observed any differences between using the various materials. For example, “That is a good observation. You noticed that the color spread when you put it on the coffee filter, but it didn’t spread when you put it on the foil. Can you tell me more about it?”