“Paper Towel Dip“: a water absorption experiment for preschoolers and toddlers.
Over the years, we’ve done many water absorption experiments here in my daycare. Paper towels and coloured water are great for teaching kids about water absorption. Coloured water really lets kids see the absorption process, and depending on the nature of the project, they can produce some unique paper towel art too!
For today’s water absorption experiment, we used:
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- small bowls
- Wilton Set of 8 Icing Colors or Liquid Watercolor Paint (see how we make our own)
- paper towels cut into strips
I filled the bowls with water, and gave the hooligans some red, yellow and blue food colouring. They stirred the food colouring into the water, and then they got to work.
The girls dipped their strips into the bowls, and watched them soak up the colour water. Then they’d shake off the drips, and dip into another colour. It was exciting to see their strips change colour each time they dipped.
They proudly shouted out the new colours, and we chatted about the colour changes. With toddlers you can talk about colours: “red and blue make purple. Blue and yellow make green”. With older children you can use terms like “primary colours” and “secondary colours”.
When the hooligans finally ran out of paper towel strips, the water had turned quite “muddy”. They weren’t ready to stop experimenting though, so we did a second activity. I gave them some full sheets of paper towel, and a tray of our homemade liquid watercolours. Using paintbrushes this time, they produced these beautiful paper towel paintings to take home.
There are so many fun and creative ways to explore colour absorption with your kids. Check out Make and Take’s cool absorption experiment done with coffee filters and markers! You can make some cool things with your results!
Looking for more science experiments for kids? Check out our:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.