There’s just no question in my mind that rainbows are magical! They’re beautiful, bright, happy, and full of mystery! The Walking Water Rainbow 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.

Rainbow Walking Water Science for Kids

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.

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.

Rainbow Books for Kids

Directions for the Rainbow Water Science Experiment

Tools you’ll need

250 9 ounce clear plastic cups
Bounty Quick size paper towels pack of 12
chef master gel food coloring

Don’t worry about making a special trip to the store. You can get all the supplies for this activity right here. Click the pictures above to get what you need.

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

More Rainbow Science Experiments and Activities

Our Favorite Rainbow Books for Kids:

We can’t live without these!

Once your child’s creativity is sparked with this fun activity, take it a step further with these engaging resources:

 The World Made a RainbowThe World Made a Rainbow How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow (1)How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow (1) The Hidden RainbowThe Hidden Rainbow A Rainbow of My OwnA Rainbow of My Own The Rainbow FishThe Rainbow Fish Planting a RainbowPlanting a Rainbow


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Walking Water Rainbow Science Experiments
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