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Jelly Bean STEM Rainbow Activity

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STEM activities engage kids in using interdisciplinary skills from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to find solutions to inquiries through hands-on investigation. The Jelly Bean STEM Rainbow activity is a simple exploration that invites kids to critical thinking through discovery. Try engineering your own Jelly Bean Rainbow with simple household items for a FUN seasonal STEM challenge!
Jelly Bean STEM for Kids - such a fun science project for spring or Easter activities for kids toddler, preschool, prek, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, homeschool

STEM Skills Presented:

Science: Kids will explore the design and construction of a jelly bean rainbow through individual (or collaborative) use of skills in the scientific method: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.

Technology: Kids will use digital cameras to photograph a sequence of events and for documentation of learning.

Engineering: Kids will exhibit simple attempts at design and construction.

Math: Kids will explore patterns, patterning, colors, lines, and elapsed time through the jelly bean activity.


Jelly Bean STEM Rainbow activity

Jelly Bean STEM for kids: Engineering a rainbow

Jelly Bean FUN FACTS for Parents and Kids:

Jelly beans are thought to have been invented by William Schrafft, a Boston candy maker. Schrafft is believed to have encouraged families to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the Civil War. By the 19th century, jelly beans were a common household name. Jelly beans were the first candy sold by weight instead of by the piece in the United States.

Jelly Beans

STEM Investigation: Engineering a Jelly Bean Rainbow

Prior to the activity, set the stage for the inquiry by discussing the following questions and inviting kids to make a prediction:

  • Which liquid, water or vinegar, will dissolve the jelly bean colors faster?
  • Do you think the jelly bean colors will dissolve at different rates?
Jelly Bean STEM Rainbow Experiment Liquids

Materials needed:

  • One standard bag of jelly beans (any brand)
  • Two foam or paper plates
  • Two cups (to hold water and vinegar)
  • 1 c. water and 1 c. vinegar
  • Stopwatch or timer
  • One printable recording sheet for documentation of learning
  • Pencil or Marker
Jelly Beans and Water STEM Activity for Kids


  • Invite kids to arrange the jelly beans in a color pattern around the edge of a paper plate (kids can use ALL colors in the bag to pattern with or choose only 2-3 jelly bean colors if desired).
  • After the jelly beans are arranged (this is a great fine motor activity for younger kids), choose one of the liquids to begin. Pour the liquid slowly onto the center of the paper plate and observe closely as the liquid disperses.
  • Start the timer as soon as all the liquid is poured onto the paper plate.
  • Invite kids to photograph the jelly beans as the colors begin to dissolve and throughout the remainder of the exploration.
    Jelly Bean STEM for Kids Color Dispersement
  • As soon as all the colors meet in the center of the paper plate, stop the timer.
  • Do the experiment by repeating the steps above with the second liquid – invite kids to note any differences they see between the two experiments.
Jelly Bean Rainbow Experiment for Kids

Experiment follow-up:

  • What did you observe during the experiment? Kids can look at the photos they took to explain verbally.
  • Did one color of jelly bean dissolve faster than the others?
  • Was your prediction correct?
  • Did you like the experiment?
  • What would you do differently if you could do the experiment again.

Extending Learning:

See all of our  color activities for kids


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 - and

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