Ever noticed how objects look different when you see them in water? It is all to do with how light travels from air into water, the light slows down and bends slightly. This bending is called refraction. Demonstrate how refraction of light occurs in water with this simple water refraction experiment. All you need are a few simple supplies, and our printable project!

Explore Water Refraction For Physics

Let’s keep it basic for our junior scientists. Physics is all about energy and matter and the relationship they share with one another. Like all sciences, physics is about solving problems and figuring out why things do what they do. Kids are great for questioning everything!

In our physics activities, you will learn a little about static electricity, Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion, simple machines, buoyancy, density, and more! All with easy household supplies!

Encourage your kids to make predictions, discuss observations, and re-test their ideas if they don’t get the desired results the first time. Science always includes an element of mystery that kids naturally love to figure out!

Learn about the refraction of light in water with this hands-on physics experiment below.

Simple Science Experiments For Kids

Science learning starts early, and you can be a part of that with setting up science at home with everyday materials. Or you can bring easy science experiments to a group of kids in the classroom!

We find a ton of value in cheap science activities and experiments. All our science experiments use inexpensive, everyday materials you can find at home or source from your local dollar store.

We even have a whole list of kitchen science experiments, using basic supplies you will have in your kitchen.

You can set up your science experiments as an activity focusing on exploration and discovery. Make sure to ask kids questions at each step, discuss what is happening and talk about the science behind it.

Alternatively, you can introduce the scientific method, get kids to record their observations, and make conclusions. Read more about the scientific method for kids to help you get started.

Science Experiments By Age Group

We’ve put together a few separate resources for different age groups, but remember that many experiments will cross over and can be re-tried at several different age levels. Younger kiddos can enjoy the simplicity and hands-on fun. At the same time, you can talk back and forth about what is happening.

As kiddos get older, they can bring more complexity to the experiments, including using the scientific method, developing hypotheses, exploring variables, creating different tests, and writing conclusions from analyzing data.

Refraction Of Light In Water

Refraction of light in water is when light changes direction as it passes from air into water. When light enters water at an angle, it slows down and bends. This bending of light is called refraction.

This is why objects in water can appear distorted or appear to be in a different place than they really are.

The amount of refraction depends on the angle at which the light enters the water and the difference in the density of air and water. Learn more about density.

Refraction of light in water is important in many fields, including underwater photography and the design of eyeglasses and cameras.

Observe just how light refracts in water with this simple water refraction experiment below. You may not believe your eyes!

Get Your FREE Printable Water Refraction Project!

Water Refraction Experiment

Why not pair this simple refraction experiment with one of these other fun water experiments!


  • Printable templates
  • Glass
  • Water
  • Scissors


STEP 1: Print out the template designs and cut them out.

STEP 2: Fill a clear glass to the top with water.

STEP 3: Place each design behind the glass of water and stand back a bit to look at it through the glass. What can you see?

STEP 4: Try moving the designs closer to the glass and then further away. Record what you see.

More Fun Light Activities

Make a color wheel spinner and demonstrate how you can make white light from different colors.

Explore refraction of light when you make rainbows using a variety of simple supplies.

Set up a simple mirror activity for preschool science.

Learn more about the color wheel with our printable color wheel worksheets.

Explore the constellations in your own night sky with this fun constellation activity.

Make a DIY spectroscope and split visible light into the colors of the spectrum.

Helpful Science Resources

Here are a few resources to help you introduce science more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

Printable Science Projects For Kids

If you’re looking to grab all of the printable science projects in one convenient place plus exclusive worksheets, our Science Project Pack is what you need!