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EASY Capillary Action Science Experiment for Kids

Your kids are going to be blown away by this fun, colorful capillary action experiment that teaches a simple science principle . Use this capillary action for kids project with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade students. This capillary action science experiment is sometimes called a walking water experiment. No matter what you call it, this beautiful walking rainbow activity is sure to AMAZE kids of all ages!

Capillary action experiment

This capillary action experiment will amaze kids from toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners to grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 students. You only need a couple simple materials you most likely already ahve tohome: paper towels, water, and food coloring to watch capillary action in most with this beautiful capiarlly action science experiment. Children will very quickly be able to watch as water moves or travels and by doing so it will create a beautiful rainbow, introduce color mixing, and delight young learners as they try to understand what just happened! This capillary experiment will produce a WOW moment for sure and is such an easy science experiment for kids!

Capillary Action for Kids

Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. They ask lots of questions and perform their own experiments. Just look at a toddler who decides to blow into his milk to see what will happen. It sometimes takes them a lot of trial and error, but eventually they realize it will bubble up over the top of the glass and make a mess. Preschoolers stomp in water or mud puddles to see what will happen and then continue to jump more as they realize it makes things spray up and make a mess. Kindergartner find a worm, ladybug, spider, or other insect and follow it around the yard, pick it up and observe it.

Children are little scientists. It is us adults that teach them to stop exploring and trying new things when we harshly yell stop blowing bubbles in your milk instead of saying, it made a mess when you blew bubbles in your milk didn’t it. Let’s try a different activity. They need to know guidelines, methods to explore around them so they can investigate without causing mayhem or large messes.

fill glasses with water

Capillary action science experiment

This super easy science experiment for kids will become a favorite as it amazes kids and is so simple to perform all at the same time! Whether you are a parent, teacher, or homeschooler – you’ve got to try this kids activity!
Start out by putting 7 glasses on the counter. Fill glasses 1, 3, 5, and 7 most of the way up with water.
simple science project for kids

Capillary experiment

Next add food coloring to the glasses:
  • 5-10 drops of red food coloring to glass 1 and 7
  • 15 drops of ¬†yellow food coloring to glass 3
  • 5-10 drops food coloring to glass 5
colorful science expeirment

Capillary action experiments

Now, your experiment set-up should look like this. It looks simple enough; my kids weren’t so sure this would be very intersting or fun…. but boy were they amazed when the¬†capillary action science fair project started working!
walking water science experiment

Capillary action kids

Finally, take a paper towel and fold it in half width wise, fold it again, and again, and again. Now put one side of the folded paper towel into one glass and the other side of the paper towel in the next glass. Repeat with the remaining cups.
walking water science project

Capillary action activity

Here comes the fun part! Watch capillary action in motion as the water climbs up the paper towel. This is how the science experiment got its nick name Walking Water Science Experiment.
This is such a simple and FUN way for  how to explain capillary action to preschoolers
capillary action science experiment for kids

Capillary action experiment paper towel

Capillary action is the process in which a liquid moves up something solid, like a tube or into a material with a lot of small holes. This happens when 3 forces called cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension work together. Water molecules are considered cohesive (sticky to each other) and they adhere (stick) to the paper towel. As one water molecule moves up the paper towel it pulls the other molecules with it. The molecules pull each other along like a drawstring.

watch the walking water science experiment mix blue and yellow to make green

What is capillary action for kids

Notice how the water has walked or moved along the paper towel.
Ask your kids to make a prediction on what is going to happen next! You can always direct their answer to help them to see the yellow water and the blue water are moving into the same cup. What do yellow and blue make?
 
color mixing science experiment for kids

Capillary Experiment

How cool is that?! The cup that had nothing in it is now equally filled with the ones on either side. The water stops walking when the water is at the same level next to it.
preschool science experiments

Water capillary action experiment

Here is what you end up with Рa beautiful rainbow of colors that walked and mixed by itself  while your kids observed capillary action first hand!
beautiful walking water science experiment where red will mix with blue to make purple, blue mixes with yellow to make green and yellow mixes with red to make orange

Capillary action experiment explanation

How beautiful is it when the water has finished walking, saturating the paper towels?! You have lots of vivid colors, color mixing to form 3 new colors, and have a better grasp on what capillary action is with your grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, and grade 5 students.

‚Ä謆 growing a rainbow capillary action experiment¬†Have you ever tried making a¬†Rainbow in a Jar project? If you haven't tried this classic¬†density experiment, I'm going to show you how easy it is to make with a few common household items! This¬†rainbow science experiment¬†is so pretty and will amaze your preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students. Try this¬†rainbow experiment as part of a weather theme, St Patricks Day activity, a¬†rainbow theme or a¬†spring activity for kids.¬† Kids are going to love this really fun Frozen Rainbow Eruptions science activity where kids will make beautiful rainbows as they create a chemical reaction! This baking soda and vinegar experiment! This rainbow activities for preschoolers usese a couple simple materials for a mesmerizing, colorful preschool summer activity! Use this rainbow science with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd graders.

Rainbow Science

Looking for fun¬†rainbow experiment¬†ideas to get kids excited about exploring the world around them? Don’t miss these clever rainbow activity ideas!

rainbow color matching game rainbow rhyming puzzles rainbow worksheets rainbow math

Rainbow Printables

Snag these rainbow worksheets and printable rainbow activities to make learning fun this spring:

‚Äčpretty rainbow craft for spring¬† Looking for a quick and easy spring craft for kids? You will love this beautiful tissue paper rainbow craft! This simple craft is perfect for toddler,¬† pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade students! All you need are a few simple materials and you will love a really pretty preschool rainbow craft.¬†Use this spring craft idea to celebrate springtime,¬†st patrick's day activities for preschoolers, summer craft, or anytime you want to brighten up your window with a pretty¬†suncatcher craft.¬† If your kids love slime - they are going to flip over making Rainbow Slime! Use this rainbow activity for kids as part of your next rainbow theme for spring or summer. This colorful slime recipe is also a really fun St Patricks day activity, a weather activity, or a color theme too!¬† ¬†Toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 4th grade students will love this rainbow art ideas. Just follow our simple¬†rainbow slime recipe¬†and we will show you¬†how to make rainbow slime.¬†

Rainbow Crafts and Activities

Looking for some really cute, simple, and beautiful rainbow craft ideas? Check out these fun rainbow crafts for preschoolers!

Looking for more fun, creative ways you can begin your free homeschool? We have over 1,000,000 pages of FREE Printable Worksheets including resources for: pre k worksheets, kindergarten worksheets, 1st grade worksheets, 2nd grade worksheets, 3rd grade worksheets, 4th grade worksheets, 5th grade worksheets, 6th grade worksheets, and more. Plus see our history lessons for kids, printable math games, language arts worksheets, sight word worksheets, free alphabet printables, and cvc word activities for kids of all ages!

Your kids are going to be blown away by this fun, colorful capillary action experiment that teaches a simple science principle . Use this capillary action for kids project with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade students. This capillary action science experiment is sometimes called a walking water experiment. No matter what you call it, this beautiful walking rainbow activity is sure to AMAZE kids of all ages!

Looking for more fun, creative ways you can begin your free homeschool? We have over 1,000,000 pages of FREE Printable Worksheets including resources for: pre k worksheets, kindergarten worksheets, 1st grade worksheets, 2nd grade worksheets, 3rd grade worksheets, 4th grade worksheets, 5th grade worksheets, 6th grade worksheets, and more. Plus see our history lessons for kids, printable math games, language arts worksheets, sight word worksheets, free alphabet printables, and cvc word activities for kids of all ages!

In addition, don’t miss our disney world planning and¬† kids activities filled with ideas for every holiday and season of the year!

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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