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Amazing Art Science (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)

Check in each week at Science Buddies this summer for our Awesome Summer Science Experiments series! Each week, we'll highlight a few activities for awesome science and engineering kids can do at home. We've got a whole summer of fun STEM themes lined up for kids of all ages — for free. This week: amazing art science experiments and creative activities for artists, makers, storytellers, and innovators!

Easel illustration to represent Amazing Art Week 5 of Awesome Summer Science with Science Buddies

Awesome Science Experiments for Artists

Are art and science related? What does painting a picture, making a sculpture, or creating a mobile have to do with science? A lot! Science explains how colors of paint mix and how different types of paint work on various papers and surfaces. Science explains how pigments are made and how art materials can be created with lightfast or waterproof properties. Science explains why some pieces of art last centuries and others fade away. Many of the techniques, tools, and materials used through the years to make art are possible because of science!

The activities in Week 5 of our Awesome Summer Science Experiments series feature amazing art projects that use science. These science experiments are great for creative kids who like to make art, imagine and tell stories, decorate and customize their things, and innovate!

Awesome Summer Science Experiments Week 5: Experiment | Watch | Kits | Ask | Explore | Read

EXPERIMENT: Amazing Art Science

Fresco Painting with Oobleck

Fresco painting involves painting directly onto a wet layer of plaster. This technique has been around for thousands of years and was popular during the Italian Renaissance. For example, Michelangelo's paintings on the Sistine Chapel are frescoes. With this fresco painting activity, kids paint on Oobleck (not the ceiling!) to simulate the process of fresco painting. How will their fresco masterpieces compare to paintings made on wet paper? Which technique creates the most vivid paintings?

Dazzling Marker Tie-Dye

Do you love the bright, swirly patterns of tie-dye? With permanent markers and isopropyl alcohol kids can make colorful art that looks like classic tie-dye. Draw your design with markers first and then see what happens when you drip alcohol onto the colored design on the fabric. What patterns can you make? What fabrics work best? What happens if you try other surfaces, like a plastic lid?Be inspired! See how we used this process to make ornaments.

Sculptures with Magic Kinetic Dough

Have you ever tried Magic Sand? The sand holds together and allows you to make small temporary sculptures in a way you can't with regular sand. In this activity, you will make homemade kinetic dough, which is similar to Magic Sand. The secret ingredient is oil, which adds polymers to the mixture. What kinds of sculptures can you create? How come they gradually fall apart?

Paper Marbling

Use shaving cream and food coloring for a fun paper marbling effect to make wall art or cards. Tip! Make full-size marbled art on cardstock or art paper and, after it dries, cut it into strips for bookmarks. For a look at how different color combinations can work, see this family's paper marbling exploration.

Shadow Puppets

Make your own shadow puppets from cardstock and craft materials and use them to create a shadow play on the wall! What determines how big the shadow on the wall will be?

Make a Mobile

It takes careful balancing of elements to make a custom hanging mobile, but the results can be amazing and a special addition to any room. For this activity, kids can gather their own mix of art, photos, and other light objects and then use straws, thread, and physics to make the mobile balance. How many objects can you balance? What other small objects can you use to make a mobile? This can be a great activity for using recycled or junk-drawer materials! Be inspired! This student's mobile was almost as tall as the front door!

WATCH: Videos

KITS

ArtBot robot made from Bristlebot kit Sample electric playdough squishy circuit sculpture with LEDs lit up Example of chromatography strips showing colors of dye in markers or candy Sample piece of art with LED lights added to light up using Raspberry Pi kit

The following Science Buddies Kits fit in with this week's Amazing Art theme. These science and engineering kits provide the specialty materials kids need for a variety of fun explorations, including robotics, computer programming, and electronics:

Learn more about Science Buddies Kits and see our 12 Science Kits for Summer Science Experiments and Discovery recommendations.

ASK: Questions

Use these questions to prompt conversation and reflection about the science behind this week's Awesome Summer Science Experiments activities:

  • How is science related to techniques for making art?
  • Why would an artist need to understand science?
  • Can you think of an experiment you could do to test and compare two approaches to making your favorite kind of art?

EXPLORE: STEM Careers

After trying this week's summer science experiments, kids can learn more about related science and engineering careers, like:

READ: Books

Pair picture and story books like these with this week's Awesome Summer Science Experiments explorations.

Boy Who Drew Birds cover Girl who drew butterflies Rosie Revere Engineer Iggy Peck cover The Dot cover 30-Minute Sustainable Science cover Ish Cover Frida Kahlo Animalitos cover The Day the Crayons Quit cover Noisy Paint Box cover Made by Maxine cover

For more suggestions for science-themed summer reading, see our Summer Reading List. Also, don't miss this roundup of creative STEM activities for storytelling and imaginative play.

Bookmark Awesome Summer Science Experiments Week 5: Amazing Art Science

Marble art, shadow puppet, marker tie-dye, kinetic dough sculpture, and art mobile for Amazing Art Science Week 5 - part of Awesome Summer Science Experiments series

10 Weeks of Awesome Summer Science Experiments

Follow the full summer series on the Awesome Summer Science Experiments page!

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