Mayhem & Messy Play #3: Mixing Colors Messy Play Science Experiment

Messy play doesn’t have to cover the whole house; this mixing colors messy play science experiment was limited to the kitchen table but the play wasn’t.messy play color science

Recently, with a record amount of rainfall in our area, we’ve had a few rainbows. This inspired our rainbow activity. Have you seen the science experiments with colors and water that moves from one glass to another on a paper towel road? It’s really exciting and kids can watch the action. Here’s how we did it:

messy play color scienceFirst, we placed 6 clear glasses in a circle. We filled 3 of them with water and squirted a couple of drops of different food coloring in each one. There was one glass of red, yellow, and blue. The other 3 glasses were empty. Big Sister said she thought the water would transfer from the full glasses to the empty ones all around. When I asked Little Sister what she thought might happen, she didn’t answer the question but volunteered to mix up all the colors.messy play color scienceThe next step is the double magic. We folded a length of paper towel and placed one end in a glass of colored water and the other end in an empty one next to it on both sides. We repeated this until we had what looks like 6 bridges, linking all the glasses. When we placed the paper towel in the red glass, it started moving down the dry end of the paper towel immediately.messy play color science

Before we’d even finished folding and putting in all the bridges, the water from the red glass was already dripping into the empty one. When they were all done, it only took a couple of minutes for the water level to start creeping up in the empty glasses.

messy play color science

Not only did the water transfer from the full glasses to the empty ones, but the colors mixed too. And it didn’t take long at all. From starting with the 3 colors of red, yellow and blue, there were now all 6 with orange, green, and purple. In the photo, there isn’t much difference between the red and the orange but it was more noticeable looking from the side.

messy play color science

Little Sister very much wanted to mix the colors. With an eye dropper she got bits of colored water from each glass and squirted in the others. The paper towels were in her way so she put them in a bowl. After squirting and mixing for a few minutes, the colors were certainly messy.

messy play color scienceAt this point, she used the paper towels to soak up the water in the glasses and squeezed the water out into the bowl. Now there was a messy concoction of towel and brown-grey water, beyond the original intention of this mixing colors messy play science experiment.messy play color science

Big Sister was more interested in the science experiment aspect. Little Sister was simply experimenting to see what she could make happen by squirting and squeezing. When both were done, clean-up was pretty quick. The value of the play was different for each of them, but it was fun and learning for all of us, me included. Can this mixing colors messy play science experiment inspire some messy play and learning for your child?

Can you come out and play?

Tomorrow, we’ll do another messy play activity so come play.

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