Teach your kids the color mixing with this simple and easy color-changing water science experiment. All you need is food coloring, water, and containers for the colored water!
Kids, especially toddlers and preschoolers, love color mixing. That’s why they love painting and combining different colors together to make a new color.
But it’s hard to remember the mixing strategies with different combinations of primary colors. And preschoolers are not just going to sit and memorize a color mixing chart.
That’s why I love doing simple color mixing experiments that will give young kids opportunities to see color mixing in action. Through fun activities like melting different colored ice cubes together, kids will naturally understand what happens when you combine primary colors.
This color-changing water science experiment is easy to set up. You only need a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. The best part is that your kids will be amazed when they see the colors of the water change in front of their eyes.
Color-Changing Water Science Experiment
- Food coloring (blue, yellow, red)
- Clear glass bowl
- Clear drinking glass (needs to be taller than the bowl)
- Free color-changing water experiment worksheet
1. Pour water into the glass bowl until it’s about ½ full.
2. Add 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring to the water and stir until combined.
3. Pour water into the drinking glass until the water level is above that of the water in the glass bowl.
4. Add 1-2 drops of blue food coloring to the water and stir until combined.
5. Ask your child what he or she thinks will happen when you place the glass inside the bowl. Fill out your kid’s hypothesis in the color mixing worksheet.
6. Gently place the glass filled with blue water in the bowl filled with yellow water.
7. Look through the side of the bowl. What color is in the water in the glass now? How about the water in the glass that’s not in the bowl?
8. Check the coloring mixing worksheet to see if the hypothesis is correct.
9. Repeat with other primary color combinations.
The Science Behind the Color Mixing Experiment
Why does the water change color when you place the glass in the bowl?
When you mix two primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) together, a new, secondary color is formed. In this color-changing water trick, the colors “mix” together without actually combining the different color water because light can pass through the clear glass and bowl as well as water. The resulting color is the same as if you had mixed the different color food colorings in the same glass.
Will the resulting color be the same if you switch the colored water in the bowl and the glass? What happens if you get a third, thinner glass with another primary color and place it into the glass that’s already in the bowl?
I hope you and your kids enjoyed this easy color mixing science experiment. It’s a great way for preschoolers to learn how to mix primary colors to make other secondary colors, which is useful for future art classes!