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Published Apr 17, 2024 ⦁ 14 min read
Easy Experiments with Water for Busy Parents

Easy Experiments with Water for Busy Parents

Looking for simple and fun water experiments to do with your kids? You're in the right place! With just a few household items like food coloring, cups, and paper towels, you can dive into the world of science right at home. These experiments are not only easy and quick to set up but also safe for kids of all ages, teaching them about the wonders of water through hands-on learning. Here's a glimpse of what you'll find:

  • Cloud in a Jar: Discover how clouds form using just hot water, ice, and hairspray.
  • Rainbow Light: Create your own rainbow with a glass of water and sunlight.
  • Oil vs. Water: Explore the interaction between oil, water, and dish soap.
  • Surface Tension: See how water can act like it has a 'skin' on top.
  • Walking Water: Watch water 'walk' across paper towels through capillary action.

These activities will not only keep your kids engaged but also spark their curiosity about the natural world, making science fun and accessible.

States of Matter

  • Water can be solid (ice), liquid, or gas (steam). Freezing water into ice, melting it, making it evaporate, and seeing it turn back into liquid are great ways to see these changes.


  • You can make water heavier or lighter by adding things like salt, sugar, or oil. Watching how these liquids stack up on each other because they weigh differently is really cool.

Surface Tension

  • Water sticks together at the top, making a kind of 'skin.' This lets some light things float on water and can even hold a bit more weight.

Capillary Action

  • Water can move up into small spaces like in paper towels or plants. This happens because of the way water molecules stick to other things. It's fun to watch water 'walk' up a paper towel in a walkingwater experiment.

Mixing and Solubility

  • Water doesn't mix the same with everything. Some things dissolve in it, some mix well, and others don't mix at all. Simple mixing experiments are a good way to see how water works with different substances.

Colors and Light

  • Water can change how we see images and bend light. Playing with water and colors helps kids see how light and colors mix and change.

Water experiments are easy to set up, don't need a lot of stuff, and are safe for kids. These basic ideas are the start of many more things they'll learn later. And it's amazing how much you can discover just by playing around with water!

Experiment 1: Cloud in a Jar

Materials Needed

To do this experiment at home, you'll need:

  • A clear glass jar with a lid
  • 1/3 cup of hot water
  • Some ice cubes
  • Hairspray


Here's how to make a cloud in a jar:

  1. Pour the hot water into the glass jar.
  2. Put the jar lid upside down on top of the jar.
  3. Place some ice cubes on the upside down lid and wait for 20 seconds.
  4. Take off the lid and quickly spray a bit of hairspray into the jar.
  5. Put the lid with the ice back on top right away.
  6. Watch as a cloud starts forming inside the jar!

When you see the jar getting foggy, remove the lid to let the cloud come out.

Scientific Explanation

Here's why this works:

  • The hot water inside the jar goes up and hits the cold air.
  • Some of this water turns into a mist, like steam from a pot.
  • Clouds happen when this mist sticks to tiny bits in the air. Here, it sticks to the hairspray bits.
  • So, inside the jar, the mist sticks to the hairspray and forms a tiny cloud.

The hot water and the cold ice on the lid make the air inside the jar just right for a cloud to form. It's a cool way to see how clouds form in the sky, but right inside a jar!

Experiment 2: Rainbow Light

Materials Needed

To do this experiment at home, you'll need:

  • A clear glass of water
  • A white piece of paper or cardboard
  • Access to sunlight

You only need these three simple items that you probably already have.


Here's how to make a rainbow using water and sunlight:

  1. Fill a clear glass with water. Regular tap water is fine.
  2. Find a spot near a window that gets sunlight and put the glass on the white paper or cardboard.
  3. Make sure the sunlight can shine through the glass of water and hit the paper.
  4. Gently tilt the glass and watch as the sunlight passing through it creates rainbow colors on the paper!

You'll see the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet appear. You can move and tilt the glass to change how the rainbow looks.

Scientific Explanation

Here's why this happens:

  • Sunlight looks white because it's made of all the colors together.
  • When sunlight goes through the water in the glass at an angle, it bends a bit.
  • This bending separates the sunlight into its different colors.
  • The colors spread out to make a rainbow pattern on the paper.

This bending and spreading of light is why we see rainbows. Different colors of light move a bit differently through water, which makes them spread out from each other. It's like how raindrops can make a rainbow in the sky, but with this simple experiment, you don't have to wait for rain to see one!

Experiment 3: Oil vs. Water

Materials Needed

For this cool water trick, you'll just need:

  • A clear glass or jar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • A little bit of dish soap

You probably have all of these at home already.


Here's a fun way to see how oil and water act around each other:

  1. Fill the glass halfway with water. Just use water from the tap.
  2. Gently pour vegetable oil into the glass until it's nearly full.
  3. Notice how the oil floats on top of the water and doesn't mix in. The oil will sit on top because it doesn't mix with water.
  4. Drop a bit of dish soap into the middle of the oil layer.
  5. Watch the oil break apart and start mixing with the water. The dish soap helps the oil and water come together.

Scientific Explanation

Let's break down what's happening in this easy science experiment to do at home:

  • Oil and water don't mix well because water molecules like to stick to each other, and oil molecules like to stick to each other, but they don't like to stick to each other.
  • This makes them stay separate, with oil floating on top because it's lighter.
  • Dish soap has special parts that can grab onto both oil and water.
  • When you add dish soap, it sticks to the oil and water, pulling them together. This lets them mix.

This experiment is a cool way to see how some things don't mix until we add a helper, like dish soap. It shows us how certain liquids can stay apart or come together with a bit of science magic.

Experiment 4: Surface Tension

Materials Needed

For this fun water experiment at home, you just need:

  • A clean, empty glass or jar
  • Water
  • An eyedropper

Yep, that's all! These are simple things you probably have lying around.


To see how water can act like it has a skin on top, follow these steps:

  1. Fill the glass halfway with water from the tap.
  2. Use the eyedropper to gently add drops of water to the surface of the water in the glass.
  3. Watch how the drops sit on top of the water without mixing in. Count how many drops you can add before they start to merge into the water.

Scientific Explanation

Here's a simple explanation of what's happening:

  • Water molecules are attracted to each other, which makes them stick together.
  • At the water's surface, these molecules stick extra tightly to each other because they can't bond with air above, creating a sort of invisible 'skin'.
  • This 'skin' is called surface tension. It's strong enough to hold the water drops on top for a bit.
  • But if the drops get too big or heavy, they'll break through this 'skin' and mix with the rest of the water.

This experiment is a cool way to show how water can act in surprising ways, like having an invisible 'skin' that can hold things up. It's a simple, fun activity that shows off a neat water trick without needing much setup.


Experiment 5: Walking Water

Materials Needed

For this walking water experiment, you just need:

  • Paper towels
  • 4 clear glasses or jars
  • Water
  • Food coloring (optional)

You probably already have these items at home.


Here's how to do the walking water experiment:

  1. Fill three glasses with water. You can add food coloring to each for fun colors.
  2. Take a paper towel, roll it up, and put one end in the first glass of water, letting the other end hang out.
  3. Repeat step 2 for the other two glasses, arranging them so there's a paper towel connecting each glass.
  4. Put the empty glass at the end. Make sure the ends of the paper towels are hanging into this glass.
  5. Watch as the water climbs up the paper towels and into the empty glass. This is because of something called capillary action.

You'll see the water 'walk' across the paper towels. If you used different colors, they'll mix where the towels touch.

Scientific Explanation

Here's why this experiment works:

  • Paper towels are full of tiny spaces between fibers.
  • Water likes to stick to itself and to other things, like the fibers in the paper towels.
  • This sticking pulls the water up into the towel's tiny spaces, a process known as capillary action. It's similar to how trees get water from their roots to their leaves.
  • As the paper towel gets wet, the water keeps moving up to the dry parts, eventually reaching the empty glass.

This experiment shows how water can move up and across paper towels, defying gravity, thanks to capillary action. It's a simple but fascinating way to see how water behaves, perfect for a quick and easy science experiment to do at home.

Safety Tips

When you're doing water experiments with your kids, keeping everyone safe is super important. Here are some easy tips to follow:

Use Common Sense

  • Always watch your kids when they're doing experiments.
  • Stay away from very hot or very cold water to avoid burns.
  • Make sure no one eats or drinks anything from the experiments.
  • Choose a spot that's easy to clean up afterward.

Gear Up

  • Wear clothes you don't mind getting messy.
  • Lay down towels or newspapers to soak up any spills.
  • Keep paper towels on hand for quick clean-ups.

Handle with Care

  • Use plastic containers instead of glass to avoid breakage.
  • Pour liquids slowly to keep things under control.
  • Make sure any containers used are stable to prevent them from tipping over.
  • Throw away any used liquids properly when you're done.

Keep It Simple

  • Start with just a little bit of water and other stuff.
  • Stay away from experiments that need fire, electricity, or harmful chemicals.
  • Check for any allergies the kids might have before starting.

The experiments we've talked about are safe and simple, using things you likely have at home. They're more about showing cool water tricks and less about mixing chemicals. But, it's still important to watch over the kids. Encourage them to guess what might happen and talk about what they see, but remind them not to taste or touch anything they shouldn't.

By following these simple safety steps, you and your kids can have a great time discovering awesome things about water! Just a bit of preparation and keeping an eye on the action can lead to lots of fun and learning at home.


Water experiments are a great way for kids to get into science. They're simple, fun, and show kids how science works in the world around them. Plus, you don't need a lot of time or fancy equipment to do them.

Here's why these water experiments are so good for kids:

  • They teach basic science concepts: Kids learn about things like gravity and how some things mix (or don't mix) with water.
  • They help kids think like scientists: Kids learn to guess what might happen, try things out, and see what happens.
  • They make kids curious: Doing these experiments makes kids wonder and ask questions. This is great for their creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • They show that science is everywhere: Using simple things from around the house, kids see that science isn't just in textbooks.

You can start with just a little bit of time and simple experiments. Here are some tips to keep the science fun going:

  • Ask questions: Encourage your kids to think and guess. Don't just tell them what will happen.
  • Let them lead: It's okay if they make mistakes. Trying things out is how they learn.
  • Connect the dots: Help them see how these experiments connect to real life, like how plants drink water or why it rains.
  • Share your fun: Posting your experiments online can inspire other families.

You don't need much to help your kids learn about science. Water, a few household items, and a bit of creativity are all it takes. So, dive into some water science and have fun learning together!

What experiments can you make with water?

You can try lots of simple and fun water experiments at home. Here are a few:

  • Catch An Ice Cube: See what happens when you sprinkle salt on ice.
  • Make A Rainbow: Use water and sunlight to create your own rainbow.
  • Which Water Leaks Faster?: Find out if hot or cold water comes out of a bottle faster.
  • Make A Water Filter: Build a basic filter using sand, rocks, and a cloth to clean dirty water.
  • Storm in a Glass: Mix oil, water, and dish soap to see a stormy swirl.

These activities are easy to set up and show interesting things about water.

How to do the water walking experiment?

The water walking experiment is a cool way to see water move. Here's how to do it:

  1. Put yellow food coloring in one glass of water.
  2. Put blue coloring in another glass.
  3. Place an empty glass between the two colored ones.
  4. Take a paper towel and fold it so it's long and thin.
  5. Dip one end of the towel in the yellow water and the other end in the empty glass.
  6. Watch as the yellow color "walks" across the towel into the empty glass.

What is the experiment to show the properties of water?

Try the Ice Floats Experiment to see something cool about water:

  • Fill a container with water.
  • Drop an ice cube in.
  • Notice how the ice cube floats.

This happens because water gets bigger and lighter when it freezes, so ice floats.

Which water leaks faster?

Hot water leaks faster than cold water if you put a hole in the bottom of a cup.

  • Hot water molecules move around more, making it flow out quickly.
  • Cold water molecules are slower, so they don't leak as fast.

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