Make your Artwork Dance!

The Seasons
The Seasons

(Chemistry for ages 4+)

Do you enjoy drawing beautiful works of art? Drawing is such a fun activity, but wouldn’t it be just a bit more fun if your artwork could come to life? The video above shows one way to do just that and it has a great scientific explanation behind how it works. Here’s how you can do it, too:


Shallow plate or tray with a smooth surface (that you are allowed to draw on)
Dry-erase markers
Paper towels
Adult supervision (Adult supervision at all times please)


  1. Make sure the surface of your plate or tray is clean and dry. When you are ready, use the dry-erase markers to draw some fun pictures.
  2. When you are finished drawing, pour some water onto your plate or tray. Pour just enough that the water covers your drawings but not too much that it overflows.
  3. Wiggle the plate gently. What happens to your artwork? Use the straw to blow it around and really make it dance.


Dry-erase markers are made with a special ink that allows it to be erased from certain surfaces, like a white board. This is possible because of an oily polymer that keeps the ink molecules together.

When you pour water on top of a drawing made with this special ink, the oily polymer holds the ink together but removes it from the surface of the plate or tray. This gives your drawings the appearance of dancing and moving around.

If you were to try this same activity with permanent markers (make sure you have permission before trying this), the ink would not come off of the surface. This is because permanent markers are made with a different type of ink that does not contain the oily polymer.

(Hint: if you tried with permanent markers, rubbing alcohol is the best way to clean the surface.)