The Classic Skittles Experiment 

Is it just me or is it now in style to get back to the classics… classic fashion, classic books, class acts? What makes something classic anyways? For kid’s science I have found that classic experiments are predictable, easy to set up, have a wow factor, and produce a ‘stick-ability’ in the minds of the beholders.

So for Science Friday at Andrew’s preschool I knew this would be a perfect activity to do alongside learning about rainbows. How many preschoolers can say that they know what a rainbow tastes like? Hint: They think it tastes like sugar and honestly I’d like to think if I could taste a real rainbow it would taste a lot like sugar too!

Here’s what you need:

  • Skittles – you can often find a small box of them for $1
  • White paper plates
  • Water

When I am doing science with kids I always look for way to make it easy to clean up. This is probably the #1 reason I don’t do science at home every single day is because I don’t want to make a mess.  But if all I need to do is fold up a paper plate when it is done then I’m all about it.

Here’s how you do it: 

  • Arrange 10 skittles around the small paper plate in a rainbow pattern
  • Pour water in the plate until all the Skittles are touching water
  • That’s it… classic.

What’s the science?

For 3 year olds, we talked about what colors are in a rainbow, what pattern we should make for a rainbow, and guessed about why Skittles dissolve in water.

For older kids, you can ask them to guess if the Skittles will dissolve faster in warm water or hypothesize on why the colors don’t initially mix together. The Skittles will dissolve faster the warmer the water because the warm water molecules are farther apart and able to fit the sugar molecules more quickly to form the solution.   Here is an interesting article about why the colors don’t mix together in M&Ms similar to Skittles. (Sounds like another experiment in the making!)

After Science Friday I had one happy guy. I mean really…candy and science is a classic winning combination every. single. time.

Here’s a fast motion video but the effect will take a few minutes for the colors to join up in the center of the plate.  Enjoy!

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