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Chloe's Walking Water Experiment

Updated: Jan 11

The walking water experiment is a simple and visually captivating science experiment that demonstrates capillary action and the movement of water through a material like paper towels. It's a great educational activity for children and can be used to teach concepts related to absorption, color mixing, and the movement of liquids.

Materials you'll need:

  1. Four clear glasses or containers

  2. Four sheets of paper towels

  3. Food coloring (red, blue, and yellow)

  4. Water


  1. Start by setting up your four clear glasses or containers in a row. Leave some space between them to observe the water movement clearly.

  2. Fill the first glass with water about halfway full.

  3. Add a few drops of red food coloring to the water in the first glass and stir it to mix. This glass will represent the color red.

  4. Fill the second glass with plain water, also about halfway full. This glass will be left clear.

  5. Fill the third glass with water and add a few drops of blue food coloring, stirring to mix. This glass will represent the color blue.

  6. Fill the fourth glass with plain water, again about halfway full. This glass will be left clear.

  7. Take a sheet of paper towel and fold it lengthwise, creating a long strip.

  8. Place one end of the folded paper towel into the glass with red-colored water and the other end into the empty glass beside it (the second glass). Make sure the paper towel strip is submerged in the red water and extends into the empty glass.

  9. Repeat the process with another paper towel strip, connecting the glass with clear water (the second glass) to the glass with blue-colored water (the third glass).

  10. Finally, take a third paper towel strip and connect the glass with blue-colored water (the third glass) to the empty glass (the fourth glass).

  11. Now, observe and wait. Over time, you'll see the colored water "walk" up the paper towel strips, gradually filling the empty glasses in between. The water will appear to defy gravity as it climbs the paper towels, demonstrating capillary action and the movement of liquids through absorbent materials.

  12. You can let the experiment run for a while to see how the colors mix in the empty glasses, creating new colors as they blend.

This experiment is not only fun to watch but also provides an excellent opportunity to discuss scientific concepts with children, such as absorption, color mixing, and how plants use capillary action to transport water from their roots to their leaves. It's a hands-on way to make science come alive!

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