Matt Peperell's Blog

Science-themed video calls with kids

Written: 12 Dec 2021 (Index by date)

Tags: family  (Index by tag)

My niblings are aged 5 and 7. Due to COVID I’ve not been travelling to see broader family much but I have had a few videocalls with them. Because they both have an interest in science and doing things, I’ve come up with a few ideas for activities. On one such occasion I talked them through making a lemon drizzle cake (my own recipe, available here for those interested). On another occasion I demonstrated to them Subtractive colour mixing though I didn’t call it that. I think I used probably the wording “making new colours”. That afternoon is what this post is about.

I started the call wearing a labcoat and protective eyewear1 which definitely got their attention! [I don’t have a photo of this available, I shall try to obtain one and update this post] I started them off by first getting them to find 3 big glasses and 3 small glasses, and some red, yellow and blue liquid food dye (which I’d prep’d the parents to buy a few days beforehand). Exactly what size you use doesn’t matter; it’s merely a convenience.

In case you can’t guess where this is going, I had them almost fill each of the 3 big glasses with water. Then into one glass they’d add a few drops of blue food dye and mix it up, yellow into the next and stir that, and red into the last big glass.

It looks like the following

3 big glasses filled with water and dyed blue, yellow, red respectively

I then asked them what colour they thought we’d get if we mixed the red and the blue. The guess doesn’t matter - it’s to get them thinking about colours. So we take one of the little empty glasses and pout into it a little of the red water and a little of the blue water!

We then did the same again but this time with the yellow and the blue.

2 smaller glasses with the result of mixing blue and red, and blue and yellow respectively

You can use other combinations, and also different ratios.

If you’re reading this then feel free to replicate this with your own kids, or do it with kids over a video call as I did.

Not overly taxing, but very fun and very engaging.

A word of advice though: Make sure that they have careful supervision. I’m not responsible if they start trying to handle the dyes directly instead of using the diluted colours!

  1. Am I unusual in having such PPE? of my own at home? 

RSS RSS feed