A Fun Experiment With Just Food Coloring And Water

We’re always on the lookout for simple, fun, and educational activities or experiments that will keep us occupied (especially on rainy days). That’s why I was so excited when I came across this simple, but surprising experiment. In this experiment, your kids can learn about mixing colors, and also about properties of water, water pressure, and gravity. By placing paper towels in between each of the cups, water will be soaked up by the paper towel, and gravity will move it back down the paper towel into the empty cup, until the water levels are about even. The colored water will be mixed in the empty cups so you can show your little ones how red and yellow makes orange, for example.

All you’ll need to do this experiment are: 

  • Pitcher of water
  • An odd number of clear cups or glasses (3, up to 7)
  • Food coloring
  • Paper towels


1) Line up your cups in a row in front of you

2) Fill every other glass with water (fill glasses about 75%), so that there is an empty glass between each pair of filled glasses

3) Color each of your filled glasses with food coloring. You don’t have to go in order of the color spectrum, but if you choose to, here’s what you should do: Cup 1= red; cup 3= yellow; cup 5= blue; cup 7= red

4) Fold each of your paper towels (you’ll need one fewer than the number of cups) into a strip approximately 1 inch wide, then fold it in the middle (lengthwise)

5) Place your paper towels into each of the cups, so that one end is placed in a full cup, and one end is placed in an empty cup

6) Wait a little while and watch the magic happen!

photo: youtube/WhizKidScience