Leprechauns Strike – Green Water
Green water from the tap is a sure sign your home was pranked by leprechauns during St. Patrick's Day!
This is not an ordinary science activity but you could certainly call it a human-science activity. You don’t need a lab to get kids to wonder, discover, and explore. It just takes a little creativity and a knack for having some fun with science. What would young kids (or grandkids) think if the water from a tap briefly came out green during St. Pat’s? Those pesky leprechauns are at it again!
- Green Fizzy Tints
- Paper towels or rags
- Leprechaun supervision
Some taps are easier to access than others. Usually, the screen diffuser can be easily unscrewed with a little twist from a pair of pliers padded with a rag (lefty-loosey and righty-tighty). NOTE: It’s removable so you can take out clogs and debris that flow through the pipes and get trapped on the screen. This time, however, you’re adding debris to the screen.
Use a rag or a paper towel to thoroughly dry the inside of the tap and the screen. You may have to remove a small part or two from the screen to do this. (HINT: Don’t lose the parts and remember how they go back in.)
Place a few of the green coloring tablets right on the screen in the unscrewed portion. For some taps, you may have to push a few up into the tap itself. Screw the screen diffuser back onto the tap. With it loaded, it’s important NOT to use the tap before the child gets to it.
When the water is turned on, the tablets dissolve and color the water. Remember: it lasts for only a short time before the coloring tablets completely dissolve and the color is gone. Also, the color is most vivid during the first few seconds. Collect a sample in a cup to prove that leprechauns really were there!
How Does It Work
The Fizzy Tints tablets are small coloring tablets specifically designed to be used to color the water for kids at bath time. They fizz to mix the coloring dye with the water more effectively and, besides, it’s just cool to watch. The fizz is a result of a chemical reaction that occurs between citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in water. The gas released is carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s best NOT to use Easter egg dye tablets or food coloring because they will definitely leave stains on things!
Take It Further
You can have even more fun with the leprechauns and add more evidence of their visit. Leave a pile of green slime on the table and make up a story about what it is. It can be leprechaun tracks, a leprechaun sneeze, or leprechaun mud. You might sprinkle “gold dust” (glitter) on countertops, strategically place gold and green coins around the house, or leave a glass of green water or milk next to the sink. Keep it simple; make it fun!
You can leave “liquid gold” out as bait for a gold-loving leprechaun by just using water and two yellow Fizzy Tint tablets. If you secretly add one blue Fizzy Tint to the water later, it turns green. You could explain the color change the next day by saying that, overnight, a leprechaun thought it was liquid gold and must have touched the water and turned it green. That’s just an idea but it should get you started. Again: keep it simple; make it fun!