water experiment

    Published: February 16, 2015

    The Family Water Experiment Series

    At Pelican Water, we focus on the serious business of providing your family with safer, cleaner drinking water. We’re also well aware that water is fascinating, especially for young kids. Here are a few of our favorite fun water activities, which keep kids engaged while educating them on our planet’s most precious resource.

    Oil and Water

    Ingredients needed:

    • Clear glasses or plastic containers
    • Food coloring
    • Cooking oil

    Teach your kids the difference between oil and water with this simple experiment. Pour two glasses of water. Have your children drip yellow food coloring into one and blue coloring into another. The food coloring will dissolve into the water. Pour a little of both into a third glass, and the two will mix and turn green (which also gives you a chance to talk about primary colors).

    Now pour a little oil into a glass. Ask the child what will happen if they add colored water to the oil. Most will guess the two will mix. The oil, of course, will float on the water’s surface. Even if stirred with a spoon, the oil always returns to the surface.

    A variation on this experiment really impresses kids. Pour a layer of oil into a glass of clean water and let it settle on the top. Drip some food coloring onto the oil, and the coloring pools on the oil’s surface. Instead of mixing with the oil, the drop of food coloring slowly sinks through the oil, exploding into swirls of colors when it finally reaches the water.

    The experiment teaches children different liquids can have different properties. It’s also a great way to explain how oil can act as a pollutant.

    Flower Power

    Ingredients needed:

    • One flower, preferably white or a light color
    • A jar
    • Water
    • Food coloring (greens and reds work best)
    • One sheet absorbent paper

    This little experiment shows how a plant sucks up water, and how water can travel up an absorbent substance. Fill a glass with water and add some food coloring. Take a strip of paper and dip one end into the water. Your child can watch the paper change color as the paper absorbs the water.

    Now comes the fun bit. After explaining plants need water, take the flower and put the stem into the colored water. Leave it for a while and return. The food coloring will have travelled up the stem and changed the color of the flower. This provides a good example of how plants pull nutrients from the soil by absorbing water.

    Make it Rain

    Ingredients needed:

    • Boiling water (parental supervision necessary)
    • Heavy glass jar
    • Paper plate
    • Ice

    Next time your child asks why it rains, you can show them! Pour boiling water into a heavy glass jar, so it fills a third of the jar (be sure to use a jar capable of withstanding boiling water). Put a paper plate on top of the jar, and place ice cubes in the plate.

    As steam rises from the hot water, it makes contact with the cold bottom of the plate. The steam condenses into water droplets, just as evaporated water condenses into raindrops when it rises into cooler air. When they get heavy enough, the water droplets fall back into the water—rain in a jar!

    For more fun water experiments for kids, check out future Pelican Water blog posts.