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This Grow a Rainbow Science Experiment is something that can be done any time of year in any setting. It requires minimal prep and very little materials.
Science can be so amazing and so much fun to do with kids. No, I’m not talking about making things explode or mixing chemicals together. Some experiments just need a little color and water. This Grow a Rainbow Science Experiment is something that can be done any time of year in any setting. It requires minimal prep and very little materials. It’s the perfect activity for kids or students learning about water molecules and capillary action. I know, big words, but kids find it so much fun. Keep reading to see how easy making your own rainbow can be.
Materials Needed to Grow a Rainbow
Very little is needed for this fun and easy experiment. You may already have many of the materials lying around. If not, you can find them all at your grocery store or craft store.
- Crayola markers, in rainbow colors (I used a turquoise blue and lime green)
- Paper Towels
- White paper
- 2 cups, bowls, or dishes with water in them
Crayola brand markers are not necessary but it’s what we usually have on hand. Any brand of washable markers should work. Just pick a variety of colors so you can have all of the colors of the rainbow included on your paper towel.
How to Do This Grow a Rainbow Science Experiment
This rainbow experiment is an amazing way to see different colors traveling along a piece of paper towel. Talk with your little ones about water molecules and capillary action as they watch. Here’s how simple it is to do this project.
- Cut a piece of paper towel in the shape of a rainbow.
- Color small rainbow boxes at the base of each rainbow end.
- Fold a piece of white paper in half and paper clip the rainbow to it.
- Carefully place both ends of the paper towel in a dish with some water. Just put the very end of the paper towel in the water…too much and it will oversaturate. **
Now all you have to do is watch the magic happen. You should see the water traveling up both sides of the paper towel, allowing the colors to meet in the middle or at the top of the rainbow. If there was enough dye in the markers you used you should see the entire colored portion of the paper towel with no white space. Kids will love the beautiful rainbow they just created.
**You can experiment with how long to keep the paper towel rainbow in the water. Take it out once the colors start to travel and see how far it can go on its own. Experiment with different amounts of time and colors!
Can I Use Permanent Markers?
If you try to use permanent markers for this simple science experiment, it will not work. Permanent markers are not water-based so the dye won’t travel up the paper towel. Washable markers work because the washable dye molecules are water-soluble and will follow the water path.
Use This Activity as a STEM Project
If you don’t know what STEM is, neither did I until somewhat recently. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In many schools, it is a new way of teaching multiple disciplines together. Its purpose is to help students think outside the box while solving real-world problems. During a STEM project, kids are given a variety of materials and asked to solve a problem using only those materials and their brains. It gets kids to communicate and collaborate while having fun and learning. Without even knowing it, they apply mathematical, scientific, engineering, and technology knowledge they have learned over the years.
Use this Grow a Rainbow activity as a STEM activity to see if kids can figure out how to grow a rainbow on their own. Tell them they can’t color the whole rainbow, only part of it, and see what they come up with! You will love watching the different ways they go about solving their problem.
More Science Activities and Rainbow Activities for Kids
Here are some of my other science projects for kids as well as some fun rainbow activities that kids are sure to enjoy. They are perfect for spring or a rainy day project.