Water-Based Science Experiments that Kids will Love

Here at Aqua, we’re all about science. Beakers, microscopes, lab coats, the scientific method — we love it all! In fact, some of our favorite memories of grade school were when our science teacher would come in with some fancy contraption and use it in an experiment that blew our tiny minds. It’s like magic. Those were the days when we learned the most because we were legitimately engaged—not falling asleep at our desks during a lecture, but involved in some sort of crazy experiment.

Kids love this stuff. It’s a fact. That’s why we put together a list of these mind-blowing experiments you can do at home with your kids. And here’s the coolest part: it’s affordable and safe. All you really need is a little bit of water and a few miscellaneous tools, and your kids will have their own science labs right in your kitchen. Here are some of our favorite water-based science experiments that will have your kids loving to learn in no time:

 

1. Oil vs. Water

 

 

Photo.

What you need: 

  • A glass of water
  • Food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • A bottle 

How to do it:

  1. Add several drops of food coloring to the glass of water.
  2. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the colored water along with the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into the bottle.
  3. Screw the lid onto the bottle.
  4. Shake it up as hard as you can.
  5. Put the bottle down and watch it settle. You should see all the oil float up and sit on top of the water.

Why it works:

Water molecules are strongly attracted to each other. Oil molecules are the same way. Since each is more attracted to its own molecules than that of the other substance, they don't mix together—they separate and the oil floats above the water because it is less dense.

 

2. Color Splash

 

 

Photo.

 What you need:

  • Water
  • 3 clear cups
  • Cooking oil
  • Food coloring
  • A pencil 

How to do it:

  1. Fill one cup up to about 2/3 full of water and a separate cup to about 2/3 full of oil.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring to each—but leave some space between each drop so they don't touch. Observe what happens.
  3. Fill the third cup up to about 2/3 full of water. Pour in enough cooking oil so it forms a thin layer on top of the water (see our last experiment!).
  4. Add food coloring to cup 3 then touch one of the drops with the tip of your pencil. Watch what happens. 

Why it works:

  • When you add food coloring to water, it mixes. When you add it to oil, it stays in a little ball and doesn’t mix at all. This happens because food coloring is mostly made of water, and you know from our last experiment that water and oil don't mix.
  • When you add coloring to cup 3, each drop is coated with oil, which is why the drops sit in the oil layer. The oil acts as a little boat on which the food coloring floats. When you poke one with a pencil, the oil layer breaks, which is why the food coloring mixes with the water and makes a cool little design.

 

3. Walking Water

 

 

 Photo.

 What you need:

  • Water
  • 3 empty glasses
  • Paper towels
  • Food coloring 

How to do it: 

  1. Choose two colors and fill a jar for each color. You will need your third empty glass of the same size for the pair.
  2. Cut a paper towel in half and then fold it a couple of times lengthwise. Place one end in a jar of colored water and the other end into the empty jar.
  3. Repeat step 2 for the other jar of a different color.
  4. Observe.

Why it works: 

Because of capillary action, the water “walks” up the paper towels for the outside colored jars into the empty middle jar. This middle jar fills up with water until the water levels of all the jars are equal. Both colors mix into a new color!

 

4. Making it Rain 

 

Photo 

What you need:

  • Hot water
  • Ice
  • Glass jar
  • Paper plate

How to do it:

  1. Add 2 to 3 inches of hot water into your glass jar.
  2. Put the paper plate on top of the glass jar and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. After a few minutes, take your ice from the freezer and place some on top of the paper plate.
  4. Watch it rain!

Why it works: 

  • The warm air from the hot water is sealed into the jar by the plate. The cold temperature from the ice placed on top causes the moisture in the jar to condense and form the water droplets you see.
  • What you see in the jar is always happening in our atmosphere—moisture rises to meet cold air in the sky where it condenses and falls back down on us as rain. It’s the water cycle!

 

Your kids will love these cool water-based science experiments. They are a great way to start off summer with a splash! Give them a shot and feel free to share your pictures of successful or failed attempts on our Facebook or Twitter pages!

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