Water is everywhere!

It covers about 71% of the Earth and makes up about 60% of our bodies!

We use water to cook and clean, and everyone must drink it daily to stay healthy.

Wwater being poured over Earth, making the planet appear and disappear.

Have you ever wondered what makes water so special?

Try some of these science experiments with water at home to learn more about how water works!

Lab Safety & Set-Up

First, you need to set yourself up for successful and safe experiments.

A young boy and adult woman snap their fingers and appear in lab coats. The text reads:


  • Work in an area where spilling water and using food coloring is OK.

  • Set up somewhere where pets or family members won't get in the way.

  • Working in a kitchen or outside may be best.

  • Change into clothes that are OK to get messy.


  • Adults should always supervise children with these experiments.

  • Protect eyes and hands with goggles and gloves.

  • Read the procedure fully before starting.

  • Follow procedures as written.

  • Clean up when you're done working.

Once you're all set up, it's time to get experimenting!


What safety habits should you follow while doing experiments?

Experiment 1: Build a Mini Water Cycle Model

Explore how water cycles through Earth with this miniature model.

A graphic of the water cycle showing land, ocean, mountains, and rain. Image from Flickr by AIRS (the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder from NASA)


  • 10 minutes (active)

  • 1 day (passive), observing every 1-2 hours


  • 2 small snack-size plastic bags

  • Permanent marker

  • Water

  • Food coloring

  • Optional: sand, 2 rocks


  • Use the marker to draw water, sun, clouds, and rain on the outside of both bags.

  • Add enough water to the bag to fill the "water" area (about 2 tablespoons).

  • Add a drop of food coloring to your water.

  • Optional: Add sand to one corner of each bag and a rock to the other corner.

  • Seal both bags. Tape one bag outside or in a sunny area. Tape the other bag inside or in a shaded area.

  • Observe the bags every 1-2 hours. What do you notice?

The video below shows you how to set up the experiment:

The Science Behind It:

  • The water cycle includes:

    • Evaporation: water heats up, turns into gas, and rises

    • Condensation: water vapor cools into clouds

    • Precipitation: cooled water vapor forms rain and falls back to the surface

  • Infiltration happens when water soaks into Earth's surface, like water soaking into sand.

  • When water can't soak into a material, it forms surface runoff, like you see on the rock.


How did the sun affect the water cycle? Select all correct results:

Experiment 2: Make a Water Strider

Have you ever seen a bug run on water? Try to see if you can make a water bug model that floats.

Two water strider bugs standing on a surface of water. Photo by hao wang on Unsplash


  • 30-40 minutes


  • Thin wire

  • Scissors

  • Wide bowl

  • Water

  • Optional: googly eyes, glue


  • Cut 3 lengths of 2-4 inch wire.

  • Twist the centers of the wires together to form the insect's body.

  • Spread out all 6 legs and bend them to form feet.

  • Adjust the legs to support the insect's length.

  • Test out the water strider on the bowl of water. If it sinks, adjust the legs and feet until it floats.

  • Move or shake the bowl to make waves and see how your water strider reacts!

The video below shows you how to set up the experiment:

The Science Behind It:

Experiment 3: Create a Candy Rainbow

Water is great at dissolving things like sugar and food dye. Explore this by creating your own rainbow!

Three glasses of water with blue food dye mixing into the water. Photo by Chaozzy Lin on Unsplash


  • 10 minutes


  • Plate with a rim

  • Warm water

  • Sugar

  • Candies with hard, colored shells (M&Ms, Skittles, Reese's Pieces, etc.)


  • Arrange candies around the edge of the plate in a pattern. Ex: 2 of each color in rainbow order.

  • Add a small amount of warm water to the center of the plate.

  • Wait and observe what happens!

  • Clean off the plate and set up more candies.

  • Put a small pile of sugar (1/4 teaspoon) in the center of the plate.

  • Add the warm water to the center again and observe.

The video below shows you how to set up the experiment:

The Science Behind It

  • Both the colored dye and sugar from the candy dissolve in warm water, forming a solution.

  • The sugar and dye move in the water from high to low concentration.

  • In the first test, there is a lot of sugar and dye at the edge of the plate and less in the center, so they travel quickly to the center.

  • When there's sugar in the middle, the candy sugar doesn't move as fast, so you see the color change slow down too.

  • Even though we can't see it move, the sugar travels faster than the dye, due to their different chemical properties.

Take Action

Water is all around us and is essential to life! It has many different properties you can explore with experiments. 

There are many other science experiments with water you can do. Maybe you’ll even design your own!

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