Hands-on science experiment: Walking Water

Are you ready to wow your little ones with a fun, hands-on science experiment? I love using this Walking Water experiment to kick off every school year, but it can also be done at home.

You will need:

  • 7 cups (4 halfway filled with water)
  • Paper towels
  • Food coloring: red, yellow and blue


  1. Line up your cups starting with one that is halfway filled with water, then one that is not, and continue that pattern.
  2. Fold your paper towel in half twice, first “hot dog” style, and then “hamburger style.”
  3. Add red food coloring to the first cup with water.
  4. Add yellow food coloring to the next cup with water.
  5. Add blue food coloring to the third cup with water.
  6. Add red food coloring to the last cup with water.
  7. Take one of your folded paper towels and place one end going into a cup with water and the other end into an empty cup. Place a paper towel between each cup in the row.
  8. Watch the water “walk” through the paper towels and combine in the empty cups! What do you see happening to the colors?

I love this activity as a first science project in my classroom because it is a great way for students to make predictions and observations. They are always in awe as the water begins to “walk” and mix into new colors.

My children at home (ages 2 and 4) love it too because it is a unique hands-on way for them to see primary colors mix and create secondary colors!

What predictions did your kids or students make, and what did they observe? Share with us on Twitter by tagging @ArizonaEducator or #AZPBSKIDS and tag @azpbskids on Facebook.

About the author

headshot of woman smiling with brown hair wearing a green lace blouse.Marissa Will is the mother of two toddlers, Olivia (4) and Logan (2). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past eight years teaching third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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