There’s just no question in my mind that rainbows are magical! They’re beautiful, bright, happy, and full of mystery! The Rainbow Walking Water Science Experiment for Kids engages students and teaches about colors, color mixing, capillary action, and more! Add this one to your spring lesson plans today to keep your students learning right up to summer break.

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Rainbow Walking Water Experiment

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Rainbow Walking Water Science Experiment:

  • Paper Towels
  • Small Cups
  • Water
  • Food Coloring

The rainbow walking water science project requires a few supplies. You’ll need cups/glasses of water, food coloring, and paper towels. There’s a good chance you have all of those supplies ready to go! So grab your students and dive into this exciting rainbow water experiment.

Rainbow Colors Science Experiment

There are a WEALTH of learning opportunities within this walking water science experiment! You can choose what to highlight, based on the age of your students and the curricular areas you wish to teach.

Science Experiment Vocabulary: primary colors, secondary colors, absorption, capillary action, cellulose fibers, and gravity/pull.

Color science: This project uses three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) to create three secondary colors (orange, green, and violet/purple). What would happen if you mixed up the order of the jars? Would the results be the same with a “secondary” rainbow, beginning with orange, green, and violet jars?

Capillary action: As the water droplets travel UP the paper towel, it’s as if they are defying gravity. The cellulose fibers in the paper towel provide “tubes” that pull the water through the fibers as if the water walks up and over a hill!

Scientific process: Any rainbow science experiment in preschool is an opportunity to explore the steps and processes of scientific experimentation! Create questions, form hypotheses, and reflect on the results of the rainbow walking water experiment for a lesson your students won’t soon forget.

Napkins inserted into the bowls of colored water and the empty bowls for the walking water experiment.

Directions for the Rainbow Walking Water Science Experiment

The supplies for the Walking Water Rainbow Science Experiment for Kids.

Step-by-step Instructions

  1. Place the 6 cups in a row and fill the 1st, 3rd, and 5th cups with water until half full.
  2. Add 4 drops of food coloring as follows: Cup 1 – Red, Cup 3 – Yellow, Cup 5 – Blue
  3. Arrange the cups in a circle as follows: Red, empty, yellow, empty, blue, empty.
  4. Take a sheet (the smallest select-a-size) of paper towel and fold it in half lengthwise,
    then fold it again lengthwise. Cut the paper towel to a length that creates an arch over the
    cups, but isn’t too high.
  5. Place one half of the paper towel (lengthwise) into each cup so that one half is in the
    colored water and the other half is in the empty cup. Repeat steps until have of each paper towel is in one cup and the other half sits in the cup next to it.
  6. Watch as the water begins to move up the paper towel and leak into the empty cup.
    The primary rainbow colors will mix as the water travels to create a rainbow.
Three bowls filled with colored water next to three empty bowls for the walking water rainbow science experiment.

More Rainbow Science Ideas for Kindergarten

Once you experience this amazing activity, your students are going to crave more rainbow experiments! Luckily, there are lots of fun options when it comes to rainbows!

You might even inspire someone to embark on how to make a rainbow science fair project in the future!

Here are some more experiments that allow plenty of organic learning to occur through the magic of rainbows:

  • Arrange Skittles on a plate in a rainbow pattern. Then, experiment with colors running and mixing by adding liquid. Change up the liquid to alter the results.
  • Create a fizzy rainbow with baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar.
  • Use watercolors to experiment with mixing primary colors to create secondary colors.
  • Make rainbow slime to explore colors with a multi-sensory approach.
The completed Walking Water Rainbow Science Experiment for Kids.

Rainbow Science Experiments and Activities

Printable Activities for Kids:

More Science Experiments for Kids

author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion.Β 

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