My boys love doing science experiments at home. We are always looking for fun new experiments to try. This is one activity that they are all excited about doing together. I’ve put together a list of science experiments that all have to do with colors. What kid doesn’t love making rainbows?
One thing that can be tricky about science experiments is that you don’t always have all the supplies. Lots of times I will look up a fun experiment and then I realize that I don’t have the right items to actually perform the experiments. So in this list, I tried to find experiments that have household items that you will most likely have in your house.
I also tried to find experiments that would be easy to do with young kids. My toddler loves to participate with his older brothers. So every experiment here has been done with a toddler, and he was able to do all of them.
Rainbow in a Jar
We found this idea on Playdough to Plato, and we do it every single St. Patrick’s Day. The nice thing about this experiment is everyone can take turns adding a layer to the jar. You need corn syrup, honey, water, dish soap (green or blue), rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, and food coloring. All the instructions on the link above!
You will begin by putting honey at the bottom (which I didn’t do this time because we were all out of honey, but we usually do it!). It also makes the rainbow out of order, so you could easily leave it out. Then you mix purple food coloring into the corn syrup and layer that on top of the honey. You will continue to layer the different liquids. The most important tip comes when you add the rubbing alcohol that you have dyed red. You need to slowly add it down the side of the jar. If you drop it into the oil, it will break through and not create a layer. So use an eye dropper, and have your kids squirt it onto the side of the jar.
Fireworks in a Jar
Here is another jar science experiment. When I was a Bear Leader in Cub Scouts, we used to do an activity similar to this, so when I saw this simple experiment on I Can Teach My Child, I knew we had everything we needed for Fireworks in a Jar. All you need is water, oil, and food coloring, and it’s so easy! I suggest that you don’t put in a lot of blue because it is too dark. My four year-olds favorite color is blue, and that’s what he wanted most. Unfortunately, the blue quickly took over and made the water dark.
My toddler especially loved the magic milk science experiment. He had so much fun watching the colors swirl around, and then at the end, he slowly mixed the colors until it was a muddy brown. All you need for this one is milk, food coloring, and dish soap. The simple directions are on Laughing Kids Learn.
Shaving Cream Rain Clouds
We tried this science experiment one day when it was raining outside. We filled a glass with water, covered it with shaving cream, and then dripped food coloring on top of the clouds. We had so much fun watching the colors work their way through the shaving cream and down to the water. It really does look like it is raining.
We just dropped food coloring onto our shaving cream, but I later saw on One Little Project that she mixed the food coloring with water first, and her rain looked a little better than ours, so next time we will probably try that, too. Our blue food coloring turned everything dark pretty quickly. Also, I got my shaving cream at the dollar store, and we have used it for lots of crafts and experiments.
Surprise Color Fizz
My kids LOVED this one! They always want to repeat this science experiment, so I think that makes it a definite winner. It was super easy and all you need is vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring. I found this idea on Powerful Mothering (all the directions are on her site, as well).
First, you put a little baking soda in the bottom of some cups, drop some drops of food coloring right into the baking soda, then cover it up with more baking soda so you can’t see what color is inside. I got my cups ready almost an hour before we did the experiment and the food coloring was just fine sitting in the baking soda.
Let your kids squirt, dump, or drop in vinegar. It will start to fizz, and then all of a sudden it will change colors. My boys loved the surprise of what color was coming up next. Make sure to place the cups on a tray or in a dish, so that they can catch all the exploding vinegar.
I heard another tip about using Kool-Aid, so we gave that one a try, too. I used a muffin tin this time, and placed part of a packet of Kool-Aid on the bottom, then layered baking soda on top. I made a thin layer of Kool-Aid in the bottom of the muffin tin, and I used about a teaspoon of baking soda to cover it up. We used the same “vinegar squirter” to discover what colors were hidden. My toddler was in heaven. The best part about using the Kool-Aid was that it masked the smell of the vinegar, which was very nice!
My sister told me about this fun experiment that she did. This one has two things that are not as common, but if you happen to have them around, or have time to hit the dollar store, this is a fun experiment to watch. You will need a jar, water or floral gel beads, and Alka Seltzer.
Put some gel beads in the bottom of the jar. I found three colors at the dollar store, so we put a little bit of each color in the bottom. Then fill the jar mostly full with water. Once the beads are all settled at the bottom, drop in the Alka Seltzer. Then watch the beads dance all through the water.
My boys loved watching what happened afterward, too. For some reason the pinks all floated, the purples sank, and the blues went back and forth. It made for a great discussion. And this is an easy one to replicate. Drop another Alka Seltzer in there and it will do it again.