STEAM Activity: Rainbow Walking Water

 

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!

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What You Need For This STEAM Activity

Materials for STEAM Activity Walking Water
Materials for STEAM Activity Walking Water

 

How to Do Walking Water STEAM Activity

 

 

  1. Fill four cups with water, almost three-quarters full.

    STEAM Activity Walking Water - Pouring
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – Pouring
  2. 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.
    STEAM Activity Walking Water - food coloring
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – food coloring
    Walking Water - Stiring
    Walking Water – Stiring
  3. Line up cups, including cups filled with water, leaving three cups empty in between the ones with water.

    STEAM Activity Walking Water - After Food coloring
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – After Food coloring
  4. 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.
    STEAM Activity Walking Water - Folding Paper
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – Folding Paper
    STEAM Activity Walking Water - Folding Paper
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – Folding Paper
    STEAM Activity Walking Water - Folding Paper
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – Folding Paper

    STEAM Activity Walking Water - Folding Paper
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – Folding Paper
  5. 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.

    STEAM Activity Walking Water - Paper Towel Put In
    STEAM Activity Walking Water – Paper Towel Put In
  6. Watch the magic happen! Be patient and see how the water climbs up the paper towels, carrying the colors with it.
  7. 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.

    STEAM Activity Walking Water Activity
    STEAM Activity Walking Water Activity

That’s it! Enjoy the experiment and have fun discovering how water can “walk” and mix colors all by itself!

 

Variations

  • 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.

 

STEAM Activity STEAM Actitivy Walking Water
STEAM Activity STEAM Actitivy Walking Water

 

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Author

  • Isabelle

    Isabelle has been an entrepreneur for last 22 years in retail and educational industry. She is also a mom to a child in elementary school. She believes that when kids are curious and use their imagination, amazing things can happen. She is particularly interested in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). She believes when children are encouraged to develop STEAM skills from a young age, they gain valuable tools to tackle future challenges in a creative, imaginative, and innovative manner. She enjoys researching STEAM and craft activities, plays, toys and resources and share with parents.

    http://steamandcreate.com Isabelle

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