Walking Rainbow Preschool Science Experiment
A walking rainbow is a perfect opportunity to introduce your preschoolers to color mixing with a science experiment. This rainbow science experiment is one of my favorites because it is perfect for our little learners. It's easy to set up, and the results are instant! Are you ready? Let's make a walking rainbow!
This fun activity is one of 200 hands on preschool activities featured in our Pre-K Play Ideas eBook! Purchase our eBook to have all of these activity pages at your fingertips.
Gather all of your materials before starting the experiment with your preschoolers. It makes things a little easier to have your paper towels cut and ready to go. Your students are going to be so excited so it makes it easier to have the supplies set-up. You will need:
Follow the simple step-by-step directions below to make your own walking rainbow. Your preschoolers will be amazed at how the water travels through the paper towels and into the cups!
After you have gathered all of the supplies, you will want to place cups in a row and pour water into the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th cups to about 3/4 full. We used plastic cups, but you can use small jars, too. You can have your preschoolers help with filling the cups.
Teacher tip: if students are assisting with pouring it can be helpful to have a pitcher of water to pour from. And, a great time to practice hand-eye coordination.
Once the cups are filled with water, you will move on to the food coloring, which is a preschooler's favorite part to help. Be careful they tend to squeeze a little too much.
Add 6 drops of red to the 1st and 7th cup, then stir to make sure it's combined. Add 6 drops of yellow food coloring to the 3rd cup stir. And then add 6 drops of blue coloring to the 5th cup stir.
Teacher tip: while you are adding in the food coloring it is a great time to ask prompting questions about what's happening, or "what do you think we are going to do next?" Ask preschoolers about what colors make when mixed together. It is a great time to spark curiosity and wonder.
Fold all 6 half sheets of paper towel into equal size strips cut ends so that the paper towels reach only from the bottom of one cup to the bottom of the next without excess.
Teacher tip: it can be helpful to have this step completed in the beginning because your preschoolers are going to be SO excited to start the experiment. Ask more probing questions, "what do you think the paper towel is for?" "What does paper towel do when you spill something?". By asking questions you are helping preschoolers understand the absorbent components of a paper towels which will help them understand the science behind a walking rainbow.
Before placing the paper towels into the cups to see the magic happen, ask your preschooler to predict what will happen and why. It is a great time to focus on color mixing and talk to your preschoolers about primary and secondary colors. And, most importantly, how they are made.
Now you will place a paper towel strip from the 1st to 2nd cup, 2nd to 3rd cup, 3rd to 4th cup, 4th to5th cup, 5th to 6th cup, and 6th to 7th cup. Arrange the cups so that they are staggered in front of one another. You can also place in a circle or a straight line but staggered rows has been my preferred method.
And, now watch the colored water crawl up the paper towels combining and creating new colors in the empty cup!
Science experiments are one of our favorite things to do with preschoolers, and we love trying out new ones. The walking rainbow was easy to set up, and it's a great way to introduce early science concepts mixed in with colors. And the instant results make it even better for preschoolers. If you are looking for the perfect experiment to tie in with your rainbow theme, here it is! We hope you had so much doing this experiment with your little learners.
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