Magic opening flowers are a brilliant, super simple science investigation using just paper and water. The folded paper flowers open up as the paper absorbs the water. They are a great way to learn about capillary action and transport of water in plants too.
You can make these as simple or creative as you like. Try experimenting with different flower shapes, types of paper and sizes of flowers. This investigation is great for preschoolers who will love to watch the flowers open to reveal a drawing inside. Older children can use it as part of a plant science unit or use it to practice correct experimental procedures.
If you like this activity, you’ll love my other paper science experiments!
Paper – sugar paper works best
Other types of paper to experiment with
Waterproof pens – optional
Magic opening flowers instructions
Half fill the tray with water.
Cut out several differently shaped flowers from different types of paper.
Fold the petals up.
Draw a little image inside – optional
Carefully place the flowers on the water and watch as they open up.
If you don’t want to cut out your own flowers, try my template.
Make it an investigation
Place flowers made with different types of paper onto the surface of the water at the same time. Record how long each takes to open up.
Remember to make this a fair test, the flowers must be the same size and placed in the water at the same time.
Paper is made from lots of fibres. As they absorb water, they swell, the paper expands, and the flower opens up.
More Science for Kids
Mombrite has a great capillary action experiment using celery.
Make slushy drinks, ice excavations, create a mini water cycle and lots more water science experiments.
I also have an exciting collection of magic science tricks you might like too!
Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by Emma Vanstone