Cold, snowy days often mean more time spent indoors. Check out this easy and colorful water science experiment to brighten up even the drabbest day!
With just a few common household items, you can watch colors blend to create your own beautiful climbing rainbow. Setup is quick and the results are different every time! Keep reading to find out how!
Climbing Rainbow Science Experiment
If you have children in your home, then you’ve likely got everything you need to create your own climbing rainbow. Have you tried the crazy cool walking water science experiment? This experiment is a fun expansion on that activity and the concept of absorption.
- Sandwich sized plastic food container
- A small wooden dowel or pencil
- Paper towels
How To Create Your Own Climbing Rainbow
Cut a strip of paper towel approximately 2×5 inches in size. On a short edge, use markers to make a strip of blocks in the colors of the rainbow. (We used this opportunity to talk about ROYGBIV.) Let the marker dry. (We found that if the paper towel is still wet with the ink the experiment does not work as well!)
The next step can be done two different ways. You can tape the top of the paper towel to a vertical surface and put only one end in the dish.
Or you may opt to create an arch using a small wooden dowel or pencil. Rest it lengthwise across an empty sandwich sized plastic container. Drape the paper towel strip across the dowel with the colored edges just touching the bottom of the container. (This way requires both short ends to have colored edges.)
Gently pour water into the bottom of the container and watch what happens!
As the paper towel absorbs the water, the capillary action will carry the water along with the marker ink up the paper towel. After the colors climb up or meet in the middle, you have your very own rainbow!
- Don’t want a rainbow? Use just two or three colors and watch how they mix.
- Experiment to see which brand of paper towel lets the water travel the fastest or slowest.
- After the experiment, let your paper towel dry out. Laminate it to make a cool bookmark or Suncatcher.
Want more rainbow science fun?
Try these experiments!
Andie Jaye is a former preschool teacher turned stay-at-home mom of 4 kiddos. Her blog, Crayon Freckles, focuses on creative learning and play ideas, as well as parenting topics. Andie strives to be honest in her approach and experiences in parenting to let other moms know that they are not alone in their struggle. In her free time, she writes children’s books in hopes of publishing someday. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.