What Kids Learn In This STEAM Activity
The Walking Water experiment is a fun STEAM activity that shows how water can move through tiny spaces like a paper towel’s fibers. It’s like water climbing a ladder made of tiny fibers, teaching us about capillary action (the ability of water to move through tiny spaces) and color mixing in an exciting way.
In nature, plants have tiny hairs on their roots that work like tiny straws. These “straws” help the plant drink water and eat food from the soil. It’s like how you drink juice with a straw!
This post contains affiliated links. Please read my disclosure page.
What You Need For This STEAM Activity
- Seven clear plastic cups (tall and narrow work best)
- Food coloring (red, blue, yellow, pink)
- Paper towels
How to Do Walking Water STEAM Activity
- Fill four cups with water, almost three-quarters full.
- Add different colors of food coloring to the water-filled cups. Use the four colors mentioned, such as red, yellow, blue and pink. Watch as the colors start to spread in the water then stir the water to help the colors mix even more.
- Line up cups, including cups filled with water, leaving three cups empty in between the ones with water.
- Now, take the six long paper towels and fold each one in half and then again in half to make long strips. You should have six of them, one for each color. Fold long strips into half.
- Place one end of each paper towel in the water-filled cup, making sure the other end reaches and touches the bottom of the empty cup next to it. This will allow the water to travel through the paper towels.
- Watch the magic happen! Be patient and see how the water climbs up the paper towels, carrying the colors with it.
- Leave it for about 24 hours and observe what happens. The colored water will have mixed, creating new colors where the red and yellow meet, where yellow and blue meet and where blue and pink meet. You’ll see beautiful new shades! Also, the water will travel to the next cup that is empty, showing how water moves through the paper towels.
That’s it! Enjoy the experiment and have fun discovering how water can “walk” and mix colors all by itself!
- Try with more colors (or number of colors) to see what color mixes you can get.
- Instead of a straight line arrangement, you can set up the cups in different shapes, like a circle, a zigzag pattern, or even a spiral.
- Instead of water, you can try using other liquids like milk, vegetable oil, or colored solutions with different densities. Observing how the colors interact and move through various liquids can offer additional insights into fluid dynamics.
- Add a small amount of dish soap to one of the water-filled cups and observe how it affects the movement of water and the colors. Dish soap reduces surface tension and can produce interesting results.
PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR FRIENDS OR LEAVE ME A COMMENT! 🙂
Check Out Our Other STEAM Activities!