Walking Water: A calming experiment

There are some amazing experiments that get kids super pumped about science.  I’m talking about the whiz bang explosions and super messy experiments.

There is definitely a time and place for that.

But, if you are like me, there are some days you just want a calm activity that brings the energy level down a notch and keeps the kids entertained and interested in science.

Walking water is one of those calming experiments.  Simple set up, amazing results.

Here’s what you need:

  • three plastic cups (preferably clear)
  • primary food coloring
  • strips of paper towel
  • water

Here’s what you do:

  • Fill up two of the three glasses with water to the same level
  • Add a different primary food coloring to each one. (I’ve found yellow and blue have a stunning effect.)
  • Leave the middle cup empty
  • Connect the two outside cups to the inner cup with a strip of paper towel each

** For faster results, soak the paper towel strips with their respective colored water before placing in the middle cup. **


Watch as the water “walks” from the outside cups to the empty middle cup by capillary action.  This is the same concept as how plants get water from the ground and up through their roots and stems. As the water walks to the middle cup, the colors will mix, and the water levels will be even in all three cups.

No mess. No explosions. But oh so quiet and amazing.

I did this experiment for Allie’s preschool. See how mesmerized the kids were?


I can say, hand over heart, that it calmed down 12 kids amped up on sugar and science. Now this is an experiment you must try!

For other calming experiments try Magic Milk here.

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments | Tags: , , |

One Comment

  • Jim Steelhammer | May 10, 2015 | Reply

    Walking water I love it!!

    —–One of your many admirers.!!!

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