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Walking Water Science Experiment

Get your child excited about science with this fun water walking experiment! This activity will have your child building on their reasoning and logic as they try to figure out how water moves across paper towels from one cup to another and changes colors.

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Where will the water go?

This water walking experiment is a fun way to explore what water can do and how it moves in mysterious ways! Simply set up 7 cups with food coloring in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th cup, you and your child can watch as colors mix through the moving of the water. This activity will definitely test your child’s patience but hang in there because the end result will be well worth the wait!

📚 Books to explore: The Little Raindrop by Joanna Gray, The Drop Goes Plop: A First Look at the Water Cycle by Sam Godwin, and Lily’s Water Woes by Brandi Dougherty. 

🌎 Making the world go round: Start talking with your child about how the water cycle works and why it is important to plants, animals and people. 

🎨 So much to learn: Watching the water move and change color can open the door to you talking more about colors and how they mix to make different colors. You can then let them experiment with paints to see how this works for themselves.


For this activity you will need:

Food coloring - primary colours only (red, yellow and blue)

Small clear drinking glasses or cups (7)


Paper towel

Learning Outcomes




Reflecting and reaching conclusions


Describing similarities and cause and effect in recurring events


Step 1:

Place the 7 cups in a row and fill ¾ full with water.

Step 2:

Add 5 drops of red food coloring to the 1st and 7th cup.

Step 3:

Add 5 drops of yellow food coloring to the 3rd cup.

Step 4:

Add 5 drops of blue food coloring to the 5th cup. 

Step 5:

Fold a sheet of paper towel in half lengthwise and then fold one more time. Place one end in one cup and the other end in the next cup, making sure it doesn’t stick up too much.

Step 6:

Repeat step 5 with new sheets of paper towel from cup to cup.

Step 7:

Watch the water walk to the next cup and change colors! 

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Have your child set up the water walking experiment with you and let them be hands-on. Before starting, have them predict what will happen and have them record their ideas as everything changes. 

⬇️ For younger toddlers: You will have to point out the colors moving and get them excited. You may want to move onto another activity and come back to see the water’s progress periodically.

Playful Questions

What do you think will happen to the water? 

Why are the colors changing? 

How come the water is moving? 

What are some things we can do with water?

How does water move from ground to the sky?

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