Two years ago I knit some washcloths and we still use them regularly. We also bleach them regularly and what used to be green is now a weird yellowish color. This doesn’t bother me at all because I know my washcloths are clean even though they look funny. However, Little Bear recently asked me about them so I took the opportunity to explain what bleach can do. He thought I was joking at first. He didn’t believe that it could change the color of fabric. So, I took the opportunity to do add a bleach snowfall craft to our preschool activities for winter.
First, we put a plastic covering over our table because I didn’t want bleach on my table. Next, I put on old t-shirt on Little Bear that could get bleach on it. It is an old t-shirt of Mr. Remarkable, so the t-shirt covered Little Bear’s pants too. Next, we talked about how bleach is very strong. It is also a good idea to do this craft in a well-ventilated area because the smell of the bleach can get pretty strong.
We set some very important rules for this activity: Be very careful when handling the bleach, If the bleach is spilled clean it up immediately, Only use the bleach in the specified areas, Do not put bleach on hands, arms, fingers, face, or any other body part. Under absolutely NO circumstances should the bleach go anywhere near the mouth!!!! Do not skip these safety steps. They are critically important. A good way to avoid getting bleach on hands is to have your child wear gloves. Never fear, even with all these safety precautions and rules, Little Bear loved this preschool winter activity.
Once the safety concerns are out of the way, get ready to have some fun. Pour a few Tablespoons of bleach into a small, short container. Be sure that the container is on top of something that can be bleached without worry. Get a few q-tips. These will be used for “painting” with the bleach.
We started with a blank piece of blue construction paper. Get a q-tip, dip it into the bleach, then use it to “paint” a picture on the blue construction paper. The paper that is bleached will just look wet, then it will look yellowish, but it will eventually turn to a nice white color. We painted a snowman on a snowy hill with snowflakes falling down. Little Bear was fascinated by the progression of wet, to yellow, to white. When you are finished with your picture, let it dry completely. You could try drying it in the sun. We did not do this, so I don’t know if it would affect the color of the bleach or not.
While the picture is drying, carefully pour the extra bleach down the sink or back into the bleach container. Clean up any spills that you didn’t notice before.
When the bleach has dried completely, leave it as is, or use crayons or markers to add more detail to the picture. This was such a great lesson in what bleach does. Little Bear thought it was really cool, but now he also knows that bleach doesn’t go on everything. I’ll definitely add this craft to our preschool activities for winter in future years.