Paper Chromatography Kids STEM experiment


Science has always been my jam. I get it. And I’m so lucky that the girls are digging it, too. Their favorite presentation at the Family Forward Conference was seeing Brady Barr speak about reptiles. And, of course getting up close and personal with them. Yikes! Those are my two little red heads just a couple feet away from a crocodile (they have pointed snouts, by the way!)

Originally published Sept 30, 2014.

Meeting Brady Barr

{This same croc was in a “catatonic” state on his back up on stage when he all of a sudden woke up and dove off the table! Yikes!}

In fact, the oldest had her reaction time measured and she was the fastest with her imitation cobra strike of all of the kids (13 mph!)

Meeting Brady Barr

During his presentation Dr. Barr told us all about Animal Jam, the online kid’s game partnered with National Geographic that launched in 2010. This was the first time we had ever heard about the game as they were sponsors for the conference! After the conference, we connected and thanks to Animal Jam, I’m here sharing more.

Since it’s inception, 20 million kids around the world have explored the ecological environments in our safe virtual world, learning about animals and their habitats, and having fun with their friends. They also have a sister site, AJ Academy, which hosts an ever-growing library of totally free science, engineering, and art projects.

Once we got home, we set up our Animal Jam account. Of course, we had to make our way to Dr. Brady Barr’s lab which showcases some awesome science experiments that kids can do at home.

AJ Bradys Lab

Science at home? We love being mad scientists! After looking around, the girls decided to investigate what was in various colored markers using the Mystery Colors Experiment. Don’t they look science ready? (Okay, no they really don’t. You’d think with a mother that taught chemistry I would insist on proper lab safety, but well, this is the kitchen after all!)

Science for Kids | Paper Chromatography | Animal Jam

The key with the mystery colors is to make sure you use non primary colors. So, grab a green or a purple, or the best is black (I let them pick.) It’s a very simple experiment and the waiting is the longest part!

science for kids: paper chromatography for kids


science for kids: paper chromatography for kids.png

  1. Cut a paper towel (or coffee filters) into 1.5-2 inch wide strips.
  2. Place a line on the paper towel approximately 1 inch from the bottom to show where you will start.
  3. Place a fairly large dot of marker on the line. If you paper is wide enough, you can likely do two dots. Don’t place them close together.
  4. Place a small amount of water in a glass (less than 1 inch. You don’t want to submerge the dots in the water).
  5. Carefully place the strip of paper into the water and let it rest on the bottom (without letting the dots touch the water).
  6. The waiting begins. But, don’t leave.
  7. Watch as the water slowly creeps up the paper towel. Slowly, you will see the colors separating and show exactly what colors go into making a certain marker.

Of course, Animal Jam isn’t all about science projects. It is a safe, fun and educational online playground. Children get to create and customize their own animal characters (my oldest is currently a tiger!) and dens, adopt pets, and learn all about animals in their natural world. Players can collect fun facts in their Journey Books, learn about Animal Conservation in Kimbara Outback, and ask real scientists questions, like herpetologist Dr. Brady Barr and marine biologist Tierney Thys.

The best part is that all educational content is accessible to players for free even including Animal Jam Academy where activities can be downloaded to complete when you aren’t online. Animal Jam memberships are available for players who want access to additional animals, accessories, dens, and den items.

Animal Jam Aquarium

As parents, we don’t need to worry, either.

We also offer robust safety options which are constantly being optimized based on parent feedback. Parents can control their child’s chat settings, plus their ability to gift or trade items. Parents can also view their child’s discipline history and their login history. Animal Jam also regularly produces educational content for players and their parents about digital citizenship and online safety, ensuring our players are aware of how to be safe online.

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  1. I want to try this with Red! I feel lucky that my Dad was a scientist… I got to see all kinds of cool experiments when I was growing up. This app looks like a great time!

  2. I am very glad we missed the chaos of the not so catatonic croc. The way Logan reacted to those electronic hamsters would have paled in comparison to a real live animal. That looks like a fun experiment…hopefully we can do it in 2018.

  3. That is really cool about the markers! Will have to plan on trying this with Broxton soon. He will think that is too cool!!!

  4. stephanie gilbert says:

    DIVA would not stop playing at the event. She begs me everyday since to get it.

  5. Science is my son’s jam too. I think Animal Jam would be lots of fun for him.

  6. My kids are HUGE science lovers too and they love learning about new animals. Just tonight we were looking up whether or not a daddy longlegs is actually a spider! FUN!

  7. Michelle C says:

    My kids love learning about animals and enjoy playing Animal Jam! Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. This sounds like a very useful program! My daughter really loves science, and I know she would enjoy this.

  9. My daughter loves building her den, and exploring areas. She also likes chatting up other kids! And I love that it’s monitored so it’s a safe environment!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  10. My kids would simply love it because they love animals and learning new things…2 great combonations and this looks like a lot of fun…Thank you for the chance

  11. This looked like so much fun and the kids seemed to enjoy it! How neat to see the croc in person!

  12. this is surely a fun experiemtnt for all the kids out there!

    1. It is! The kids have a blast. Let me know if you try it.

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