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!
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 OobleckFresco 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-DyeDo 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 DoughHave 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 MarblingUse 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 PuppetsMake 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 MobileIt 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!
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:
- Bristlebot Kit: As it shuffles around on a piece of paper, the ArtBot draws! Can you help the ArtBot make its marks in a certain shape (like a circle or a heart)? How many legs can it have? (Note: the ArtBot is one of several introductory robots you can build with the Bristlebot Kit.)
- Electric Play Dough Kit: By using conductive and insulating dough, kids can design simple electric play dough designs (or squishy circuits) with LEDs that light up. As they learn more about circuits, they can move on to try more challenging 3D sculptures! How many LEDs can be used successfully and how does the number of LEDs change how the circuit works?
- Candy Chromatography Kit: Kids interested in exploring chemistry and color can use the Candy Chromatography Kit to analyze the dyes that make up candy coatings, leaves, markers, or ink. See this example using colorful candies.
- Raspberry Pi Projects Kit: Creating a custom piece of artwork with LEDs that light up when a room darkens is one of a series of 8 creative, interactive activities kids can do with the Raspberry Pi Projects kit. For a look at the kinds of light-up fun kids can have combining electronics and programming with Raspberry Pi and Scratch, see the star these kids built and coded to light up at night. For more inspiration, view the progressive series of 8 projects. (Note: if you already own a Raspberry Pi, the Circuit Building Kit for Raspberry Pi is available.)
Learn more about Science Buddies Kits and see our 10 Science Kits for Summer Science Experiments and Discovery recommendations.
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:
Pair picture and story books like these with this week's Awesome Summer Science Experiments explorations.
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
10 Weeks of Awesome Summer Science Experiments
- Week 1 - Rubber Band STEM
- Week 2 - Kitchen Concoctions
- Week 3 - Wizardly STEM
- Week 4 - High-Flying STEM
- Week 5 - Amazing Art Science
- Week 6 - Clever Contraptions
- Week 7 - Radiant Rainbows
- Week 8 - Wacky Water Science
- Week 9 - Carnival STEM
- Week 10 - Ready, Set, Go STEM
Follow the full summer series on the Awesome Summer Science Experiments page!
You Might Also Enjoy These Related Posts:
- 10 Science Kits for Summer Science Experiments and Discovery
- Imagine Your Story - STEM Activities for Storytellers of All Ages!
- Ready, Set, Go! (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)
- Carnival STEM (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)
- Wacky Water Science (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)
- Radiant Rainbows (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)
- Clever Contraptions (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)
- Amazing Art Science (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)