Rainbow Walking Water Activity


In this activity, you and your child will be putting strips of paper towels into cups of water colored with food coloring and observing the change that happens.


The goal of this activity is to observe the water traveling up the strips of paper towels against gravity through something called “capillary action.” This activity is also great for observing the way primary colors can mix with one another to form other colors.


  • 6-7 Small cups or glasses
  • Strips of paper towel
  • Food coloring


Line up the glasses and fill the first glass up with red watercolor, the third cup with yellow, and the fifth with blue. If you have six cups, you can put your cups in a circle. Starting with the red, add one end of the paper towel and then put the other end in the empty glass next to it. At this time, you and your child can take a break or sit and watch while the water travels up the paper towel.

Time Lapse Video of Walking Water


If you aren’t seeing much movement, try adding more water to the cups with the colored water.