“Can we do a science experiment?” This is what my 4-year-old son, Cory, asked me while walking in the grocery store one day. We just passed the aisle with vinegar, which is an item we use for many of our experiments. A week before, we did the Tooth Decay Experiment, which taught my son the importance of brushing his teeth twice a day. He had a lot of fun with this experiment and wanted to have that same feeling again.

So I turned to him and said, “Sure we can do another experiment. Do you know what experiment you want to do?” His reply was, “No, but we can look one up.” We did just that the next day and found the Walking Water Experiment. I was familiar with how to do it without instructions. However, I wanted my son to read the experiment instructions and follow directions. Science experiments are a great way to increase a child’s reading level.

Watch the video below to see how science experiments can increase a child’s reading level.

We looked in our kitchen for the materials needed to do the Walking Water Science Project. We had everything except food coloring. Cory was so excited to do the experiment that he requested we go to the grocery store to get it. When my son is excited to learn something new, I try to act on it as fast as I can. After we got home from the grocery store, we were ready to get started.

This is an amazing experiment to show how water can defy gravity with a capillary action. I will explain this at the end of the post.

Let’s Get Started With This Fun Rainbow Experiment!

Materials Needed:

  • Water (enough to fill seven glasses)
  • Seven drinking glasses
  • Food coloring (we used blue, red, yellow, and green)
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Paper towels (six folded into a rectangular shape)

Directions:

  • Fill four glasses with water.
  • At first we only filled the glasses halfway, then we realized it is best to fill them up.
Cory pouring water in the glasses
  • Put a different color of food coloring in each glass.
Putting the food coloring in each of the four glasses.
  • Stir the food coloring and water in each glass.
Mixing the food coloring and water together.
  • Place the glasses so there is an empty glass in between the ones with food coloring.
Alternating food coloring glasses with empty glasses
  • Fold six paper towels into a skinny rectangular shape.
Fold the paper towel like in the picture shown above.
  • Insert paper towels into two glasses placed beside each other.
Placing paper towels in cups. Here you can see we put more water in the glasses.
This is how the paper towels should look. There should be two paper towels in each glass.
The task is complete!
  • Let this sit for 24 hours and watch what happens.
This is what we saw the next day.
  • The empty glasses now had colorful water in them.
  • The glasses that were once full are now only a quarter full.
  • The water seeped through the paper towels and put water in the empty glass next to it.

Why this works:

  • As soon as you place the paper towel in the glasses, you should see that the it starts to absorb some of the water.
  • Water goes up the paper towel and defies gravity in a process called capillary action.
  • Paper towels are made of many small fibers that have gaps in between them.
  • Water gets pulled into these gaps by capillary action.
  • The water goes up the paper towel and down into the empty glass.
  • This is how water moves through plants.

Try this fun experiment at home. Enjoy!

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