Rose-coloured water

Science with a twist

Add food colouring until a jar of water is murky, and discuss how greed can cloud our perspective so we forget to be grateful.

For this demonstration you will need a large, clear jar filled with fresh water, food colouring in blue, red, green and yellow, and a toy catalogue.

  • To begin, have your children take turns looking through the jar of clear water to observe the room around them. Invite them to name some of the things they can see.
  • Now share a brief story about a child who wanted everything. Bring out the toy catalogue and let your children choose items from the catalogue they think the greedy child might want.
  • With each item your children select, add a couple of drops of food colouring to the water in the jar, based on the colour of the object selected. For example, add blue food colouring for a blue bicycle or yellow for a yellow construction toy.
  • To make the water even cloudier, tell your kids that the greedy child demanded an ice cream at every snack time too, then add some milk or ice cream to your jar of water as well.
  • Keep the toy ideas flowing and keep adding colouring until the water is brown and murky.
  • Now invite your children to look through the jar again and name the things they can see in the room.
  • Explain to your children that just as the clear water grew cloudy and hard to see through, wanting more and more things “clouds” our perspective and makes it hard for us to see all the good things we already have.
  • Point out that you started out with something really valuable, but that people often take for granted or fail to appreciate. Ask your kids to guess what that might be. (Having clean water to drink and use.)
  • Explain that when we’re obsessed with the things we want, we often fail to appreciate that we’ve already been given some of the best things of all – the things we really need for life, like clean water and food.
  • Now place your jar of murky water in the sink. Run some fresh water into the jar until the jar begins to overflow, and observe how the dirty water starts to become clearer.
  • Explain to your kids that the fresh water is like God’s Holy Spirit. He can wash the gimmies out of our hearts and give us an attitude of gratefulness instead.
  • Encourage your kids to list some of the good things they enjoy, that they can thank God for. Encourage them to confess too – sharing something they often want or desire, or the times when they get the gimmies. As each child shares an idea, open the tap and add another jet of fresh water into your jar.
  • Continue adding water until the cloudy water has all been replaced with clear water.
  • Close by praying a prayer like this one:

    Dear God, You give us so many good things, yet we are still tempted to want more and more than we need. Please send Your Holy Spirit to give us fresh and pure hearts that are just like the clean water, so we are grateful that we have what we need. Help us to care about the poor people who have so much less than we do and who have no clean water to drink at all. We want to be more concerned about giving things to others than we are about getting more things for ourselves. Amen.

Relevant Scripture

Isaiah 43:20-21 “The wild beasts will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people, the people whom I formed for Myself that they might declare My praise.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

1 John 3:17 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?