Color Mixing Tray Experiment – Rainbow Colors Activity
Rainbow Science Experiments for Kids
Splash of Color Experiment
How quickly can you create 24 different colors using only red, yellow and blue water? Experiment by adding droplets of these primary colors to the 24 tiny mixing cups and to make a splash. Learn how to combine colors to make an entire rainbow by following the instructions included in this vibrant activity. Once complete, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a color mixologist. This activity is great for children ages 4 and up.
Fill the three plastic cups 3/4-full with warm water.
Open the package of coloring tablets and place a different colored tablet in each cup. You should only need one tablet per cup for a vibrant color.
Make sure the pipettes are clean and don’t have any old color in them. Dip the end of the pipette into the colored water you made in Step 2 and squeeze the bulb to push the air out. Release the bulb to draw up some liquid. This is a simple step, but younger scientists may need a little practice and coaching.
Pick one of the 24 wells in the tray and add a squirt of blue liquid followed by some yellow to make green. Don’t stop there — keep mixing colors to make as many as possible.
Carefully pick up the Mixing Tray and hold it up to the light to gaze at the rainbow of colors you’ve created.
How Does It Work
Tips for the Adult Helper: Allow the students to make their own discoveries. After showing them how to squeeze the pipette and squirt liquid into one of the wells, step back and allow them to explore on their own. There’s nothing better than hearing excited kids sharing their discoveries with one another. If younger scientists get frustrated, you can help by making gentle suggestions.
Remember that exploration leads to inquiry, which leads to a discovery. It’s sometimes difficult to find time for students to wonder, discover and explore something new, so make sure you set aside plenty of time for your young scientists to try different color combinations. After doing the Splash of Color experiment with your kids or with the entire class, set up a discovery center with all of the materials needed for 3 or 4 students to work at the same time.
Take It Further
Make Colored Jelly Crystals: You can extend the learning with older kids by making colored Water Jelly Crystals. When all 24 holes are filled, add one or two of these superabsorbent crystals to each of the colors. Water Jelly Crystals are non-toxic, rock-like crystals that absorb lots of water. Place the lid on the tray and set your experiment aside for about an hour, letting the crystals absorb all of the colorful water, or at least most of it. You’ll know the experiment is completed when the colored water has transformed into a rainbow of big, plump, jelly-like crystals.
For older scientists, lessons learned in the Color Mixing Tray experiment can be carried over to other activities. Have students write down how many drops of each primary color it took to make a new color on a color mixing worksheet and have them conduct the experiment again, but with paint. Have each student make a rainbow with mixed paints and compare how they made the different colors. This is a great way to practice measuring and to show how different measuring techniques yield different results.
Here’s what a Kindergarten teacher had to say:
“After explaining that it was time to clean up, I went over to the discovery table and attempted to remove the pipettes from their tightly clenched fingers. Bad idea. I even played the recess card by tempting them with an extra five minutes on the playground if they would clean up. No way. I soon realized how much they loved the activity when they were willing to trade their recess time for more color mixing time. Now that’s play with a purpose.”