Today, I want to share this walking water experiment—which I’ve wanted to with my kids for ages. I’ve tried it a little bit here and there without much success. This time we made sure to find out what wasn’t working and why.
Of course, we added in a little learning into the fun by mixing colors in the process! My kids were super excited to see what colors we would make.
What You’ll Need:
- paper towels, the cheaper, less absorbent the better; toilet paper works too.
- 3 clear jars or glasses.
- food coloring (use two primary colors to learn about color mixing)
How to Set Up:
Fill two of the jars full with water. Add in food coloring to each jar. We added red and blue.
Fold a paper towel in half multiple times to make a long skinny strip (about an inch or so wide).
Dip one end of the paper towel strip into the jar filled with colored water and lay it over the edge of the jar and placed to drip into the jar that’s still empty.
I learned from Megan of Coffee Cups and Crayons the perfect solution for a walking water experiment. The absorbency of the paper towel plays a major factor in how long it takes. Her solution takes a couple of minutes for the water creeping its way over to the empty jar.
My solution, on the other hand, took 20 minutes for the water to travel to the top of the first jar and well over an hour to see any drips into the empty jar.
We eventually tried toilet paper and had some better luck with it. The water walked much faster than with the paper towels, but still not nearly as fast as Megan’s did. The absorbency of the paper plays a big part.
The boys were shocked when we came back later that day to check on the progress. The water had completely mixed into the middle jar! What color did red and blue create? Purple!
Tips for Making Water Walk Faster:
- At first we tried ripping the towels into strips, but it didn’t soak up nearly as fast.
- Fill the jars as full as possible. The water will not have to move up as much before letting gravity do its job.
- Use thinner, cheaper paper towels. The less the paper towels absorb, the better.
- Prop up the filled jars on books to make them higher than the destination jar. Gravity will help move it along faster.