Simple science starts here! A Walking water science experiment is incredibly easy and fun to set up with the kids! How can you make science really fun and doable for your kids? Try simple science at home using what you already have! Kids as young as preschool up through early elementary school age will love this easy rainbow science too!
WALKING WATER SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
This walking water science activity is a must try if you have junior scientists in the house! I have been wanting to try this forever because it looks so cool. Your pantry is already stocked with everything you need to get started too!
Easy kids science starts here, and we LOVE any kid’s science activities that are low cost and easy to set up. Walking water fits the bill, and is terrific science in the kitchen
Have you ever heard of kitchen science, and there are a few ways you can think about what kitchen science means…
Is it science you can do in your kitchen at home?
Is it science you can do with common kitchen supplies anywhere?
How about both!
To me, kitchen science is all about really doable science ideas that families can share together at home or that teachers can easily and inexpensively set up in a classroom for a group of kids. Either way, it lets you try cool science anytime.
MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT: 30+ Awesome Kids Science Activities
WALKING WATER SCIENCE EXPERIMENT SET UP
I always keep a stock of basic science activity supplies on hand in our homemade kids science kit! Will it surprise you to know that you have almost everything you need in the kitchen cupboards?
A well-stocked pantry means easy kids science whenever you feel like it! We even have FREE printable science ideas cheat sheet below to download! Look for them at the bottom of this page. Print out a copy to leave in the kitchen.
- Test Tubes and Rack (clear plastic cups or mason jars work well too!)
- Food Coloring
- Paper Towels
- Timer (optional)
TESTING WALKING WATER SCIENCE
Let’s get set up for walking water with a few quick and easy steps the kids can definitely be a part of! It’s so important to pick science activities appropriate for your kiddos ages. You want them to be able to do most of the steps!
We used test tubes for three sets of primary colors. You can use less as long as you have enough to go around with all the colors mixing.
First add red, yellow, and blue food coloring (one color per test tube) in a pattern. Give each test tube (or (glass) a little stir to evenly distribute the color. Try to put the same amount of food coloring in each container.
Cut thin strips of paper towel to fit in the test tubes. If you are using glasses or cups, you can judge the best size strip to fit what you are using.
Place the paper towel strips into the test tubes. There will be two ends in each tube.
Wait and watch what happens. At this point, you can set up a stopwatch to make note of how long it takes for the colors to meet and mix.
HOW DOES WATER WALK?
Before you insert the strips, you have the perfect opportunity to make some predictions about what will happen. Have your kids come up with a hypothesis or prediction for their experiment. Will the water walk?
You can start the conversation with…
What do you think will happen when we put the towels into the water?
Once you have inserted the towels, it’s the perfect time to talk about what your kids see happening. Do they want to improve upon their hypothesis or have some new ideas about what might happen.
The whole process starts pretty quickly, but it does take awhile for the colors to begin to mix with each other. Extend the science activity: pull out the water colors and do some color mixing art while you wait.
How about setting up a homemade lava lamp science activity while you wait!
Make sure to check on your walking water science experiment every once in awhile to see the changes that are constantly taking place. The kids will be amazed at how the water seems to defy gravity!
THE SCIENCE BEHIND WALKING WATER?
How does water walk?
Walking water science is all about capillary action which also can be seen in plants. You can even check out our celery osmosis experiment to see this!
The colored water travels up the fibers of the paper towel. These gaps are similar to the capillary tubes of a plant that pull the water up through the stems.
The fibers of the paper towel help the water move upward which is my this walking water science experiment looks like it is defying gravity. How else does water move up the tree?
As the paper towels absorb the colored water, the water travels up the towel strip. It meets up with the other colored water that has traveled up the neighboring strip.
Where the primary colors interact, they turn into the secondary colors. Both colors will continue to travel as long as the towel fibers will absorb the water.
We left our walking water science experiment out overnight and had a mucky looking puddle of water underneath the rack.
The paper towels had become oversaturated! I bet you could even test a variety of paper towel brands with this science experiment.
Science that’s colorful and simple to do! Plus, this experiment is interesting for multiple ages. Older kids should be able to set it up all by themselves and can also use our science journal page to record their results.