Think you need a degree in biology to introduce your child to science? Fortunately, an easy experiment like this one, which shows in colorful detail how plants consume water, is all it takes to spark his curiosity.
Not only will he love watching the flowers change color as they drink the dyed water, he'll also be developing skills he can use in every school subject, says Kathleen B. Horstmeyer, director of the preschool and elementary level of the National Science Teachers Association in Philadelphia. "Science experiments help children as young as 3 become keen observers, think critically, and gain confidence in their ability to solve problems," she explains. "This project encourages kids to ask questions and offer opinions on how it worked."
You can boost the educational benefits by pointing out the flowers' veins as they change color and asking him what he thinks they're for; he may be able to guess that plants use them to feed. Then discuss why plants need water and how water overcomes gravity.
"Take the time to learn about the world together," Horstmeyer says. "If you show interest in your surroundings, your child will as well."