Colour mixing and potion making

We had a few low energy afternoons as my 3 year old has been moping around, and on one of them I decided to invent a story and get lots of bits of his lab set out so he could pretend to be the scientist who saves the day!

Starting with yellow

The story was based around Julia Donaldson's book "Zog and the Flying Doctors" which is popular in our house. In the story the King has a disease called orange fever, and Princess Pearl, Zog and Sir Gadabout collect the ingredients for a medicine which makes him better (including grated horn of unicorn and a mighty lion's sneeze...). I told him Princess Pearl had invented a new medicine (a sample of which was in a test tube) and she needed his help to make more, but she'd forgotten what she put in it!

Yellow and red doesn't make green!

It was a colour mixing experiment, where I put a Crayola Bath Drop in each of three 1 litre bottles of water to make blue, red and yellow. These contain food dyes (brilliant blue, red 33 and tartrazine) which stain less than the food colourings we have got so are better for the sort of play and science experiments where they risk getting spilt in large volumes.  I put about 200ml of each colour into a smaller container for him to use.

One of those is green!

I also mixed a 3:1 ratio of the yellow and blue to make the green potion that was supposedly Princess Pearl's. The challenge was for him to mix the right colours to get something close to the green I'd made so the Princess had more medicine to treat the King.

Making his purple potion

It's fair to say he enthusiastically embraced the task and the story, pretending to fly in on Zog the dragon to his laboratory (outside). His colour mixing was equally enthusiastic but a little haphazard, starting with yellow and red and seeming surprised to have made orange, then realising he needed blue rather than red and making some more potion. I'd given him pipettes but he preferred to pour and it went all over the table!

With added bath bomb

He was having fun though, and having made a passable shade of green, he decided what Princess Pearl actually needed was the small boy's own special medicine... He tried mixing different combinations of the primary colours, and then told me he'd found the best mix (of all 3 colours, which gave a purple because the yellow doesn't seem as vibrant) so he proceeded to scale this up in a larger container as he thought the King needed lots of medicine. He then spent a long time, maybe 20 minutes, pouring this between different bottles and tubes before declaring he was finished.

The finished potion.  It looks pretty unappealing.

I'd earlier found a tub with a few remaining mini bath bombs from our chemical reaction lava lamp, and I suggested he poured the potion into a pan we have in our garden for play cooking and added them to make it fizz and make a superior potion for the King. He was happy to do this, watching the bubbles of carbon dioxide appear, then mixing it by repeatedly squirting with a pipette.