Water on Wax Paper - Raindrop Race

On your marks, get set… rain! Which colored raindrop will win? This exciting science activity will have your children experimenting with physics while cheering for water drops.

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Drip, drip, drop!

Do you remember watching raindrops on a car window on a rainy drive and seeing which one was the fastest? Make predictions and explore physics with this fun, interactive raindrop activity for kids! Each experiment creates a new winner. No two races are alike! 

📚Introduce terms: Children are sponges and pick up words quickly. Introduce new words like ‘acceleration,’ ‘friction,’ ‘gravity’ and ‘speed’ and encourage them to use these words when interacting with the activity!  

🔍 Explore new surfaces! Take this activity to the next level with different surfaces such as paper towels, aluminum foil,  sandpaper or wood. Does each surface make a difference in the water drops speed? 

🚗 Never stop exploring! Don’t let the fun end with liquids; explore how different materials react to speed and incline. Marbles, cars, water beads...anything that rolls!  

Materials

For this activity you will need:

Wax paper 

Food coloring (3-4 colors)

Water

Small plastic cups

Tape

Eye droppers

Books/elevated surface

Long plank of wood/metal

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Cognitive

Skills

Reflecting and Reaching Conclusions

Indicators:

Describing similarities and cause and effect in recurring events

Instructions

Step 1:

Create an elevated surface using books to make an incline. 

Step 2:

Wrap your “race track” in wax paper to create a non-absorbent surface. Tape it at the back to ensure your wax paper is secure. 

Step 3:

Balance your “race track” on top of several books to make an incline.

Step 4: 

Mix together water and food coloring to create several colors of water in your plastic cups.

Step 5:

Once mixed, encourage your child to use the eye droppers to drop one drop of water from each dropper at the same time from the highest point of your race track (the top). What color is the fastest?

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Explore viscosity with this experiment! Use colored syrup, vinegar, juice, soda, etc. Do the different liquids make a difference in speed?

⬇️ For younger toddlers: This is a great activity to practice fine motor skills. Little hands will love to practice gently squeezing the eye droppers to slowly let out water drops for the race.

Playful Questions

What would happen if we used a paper towel instead of wax paper on our racetrack? 

What happens to the water drops when we add more books under our race track?

What would happen if there was no slope on the racetrack for the water drops?

How can we make the water drops go faster/slower on the race track?

If we add more water at the beginning of the race does the raindrop travel faster or slower?