No need to shed tears when you grab a marker to color with and it’s all dried up! Instead, try this dried marker activity and make your own water table.
We’re turning lemons into sweet, sweet lemonade with this dried marker activity
We’ve all been there.
We’re coloring, having the time of our lives, we grab the next marker, and the moment it hits the paper, it doesn’t glide. The color either comes out streaked, barely visible, or nothing comes out at all.
But alas, there’s no need to fret! In fact, there actually is a lot of color and life still left inside, and it’s about to get colorful!
Related: Know what pairs perfectly with markers? Our gigantic 10-foot coloring banners! (Seriously, they’re the best.)
This dried marker activity is both easy and economical
One of our very best tips is to stock up on Crayola markers at back-to-school time. Boxes of 10 markers are on sale for $1, making each marker only 10 cents.
Then, throughout the year, save the markers that dry out. It might be tempting to throw them away since they are inexpensive AND have fulfilled their destiny, but we’re still able to squeeze some more fun out of them.
Once you have several markers, you’re ready to make a colorful water table, and at this point, it’s essentially free!
Looking for more marker fun? We’ve got you covered:
- Double Doodle Art for Kids – The Artful Parent
- Crazy Photo Collages – Picklebums
- Bleeding Blossoms – Babble Dabble Do
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- Dried markers
- Clear containers
- Play props – spoons, cups, scoops, sponges, unifix cubes, plastic toys, pom poms, etc. ( use whatever you have on hand)
Honestly, it’s really simple. 🎉
Fill your containers with water and then toss in your markers with the lids off.
Then, sit back and watch the magic.
And here’s the fun part: you will see the color bleed into the water right before your eyes. You’ll see it trail out, and it’s very, very cool.
Add in props for extended fun!
The longer the marker stays in the water, the more color you will get.
The photos here were taken about 20 minutes after the markers were introduced. In my own experiment, I also left the markers overnight, and it got even more saturated. This is a fantastic opportunity to conduct a secondary experiment with your child and to observe what happens to the water over time.
How do you revive dried-out markers?
If you accidentally leave the lid off of a marker but know it’s not actually out of ink yet, you can also bring it back to life!
We usually put the cap on, leave the marker standing up (cap side down), let gravity do its work, and pull the ink back toward the tip.
If, however, the marker has lived a nice, long, fulfilling life and is “out” of ink, it’s time for one last hurrah with the water table.
You don’t have to wait for your markers to dry!
Because markers can be purchased inexpensively, you could also do this activity with fresh markers.
I used dried markers for this activity, so it was ultimately free, BUT if I had used brand-new markers, I would get a ton of color, and it would have only cost me 50 cents.
Hours of water exploration, sensory play, color mixing, and fun for 50 cents? More than worth it!
In fact, you can make colorful water tables without markers at all. Check out our sparkly water table using kids’ paint.
We have not found the water to stain because it’s so diluted. To be extra cautious, try this over something like grass.
We have only ever tried this with Crayola markers.
We have done this with both cold and warm water and it’s works perfectly each way.
We love this dried marker activity
We love that we get to repurpose and upcycle something otherwise headed to the trash.
We love that we can set up a science experiment for the kids to watch before their very eyes.
We love that this can be done for free and provides hours of open-ended play.