Slithering Water Science Experiment!

Slithering Water Science Experiment!

Now this is a super easy and cheap science experiment! This slithering water experiment takes some time depending on how tall your glasses are, so you can start it in the morning and leave it on the kitchen counter or washer and dryer and go back and observe throughout the day and evening. I had my kids write their observations down in their journal every time they went to observe the water slithering up and down!

This is a two part science experiment. It wasn’t supposed to be but it turned out to be more than we thought which is always fun! Essentially this is using capillary action –
To make the pictures come out better and for us to see the water go through the paper towel, we decided to color the water with purple food coloring which is where the next experiment took place.



Slithering Water


What you need:

Two drinking glasses you can see through
One paper towel or a half of one if you have big paper towels
Food coloring (optional)


  • Fill one glass about half full with water and add food coloring to it if you want.
  • Place that water glass right next to the empty glass.
  • Roll & scrunch the paper towel to look like a snake
  • Stick one end in the water glass making sure that the paper towel gets wet and curve the other end of the towel into the empty glass.
  • Wait & watch what happens!


By putting the paper towel into the water on one end, both glasses will eventually have the same amount of water. Wasn’t that nice of the one glass to share with the empty one to make it even?! (thoughts of an 8 year old)


Ok so this is going to do different things and it depends on what color you use in your water. If you use red, the red water will transfer. If you are using purple water like I used, blue will be soaked up and transferred into the empty glass. This is so fun for us to see. We assumed if we put purple water in, that purple water would transfer. NOPE! The blue primary color was pulled through only!

Also, the water uses capillary action to move along the tiny gaps in the fiber of the paper towel. Capillary action is what happens in plants. Moisture will travel from the roots to the rest of the plant. So this experiment can help with that concept. My kids have done several different colors with this experiment and they have stuck up to four glasses side by side and looped paper towels so they can experiment which colors will transfer and if it will make a new color in another glass.



  1. I bet kids find this fascinating. I think I am going to go try it soon myself. Teehee. How long did it take?

  2. I love science experiments!! I could study osmosis all. day. long. And DNA. That too.

  3. This is so neat! I remember doing something like this in grade school!

  4. I remember doing this as a kid… also the celery and flower coloring experiment. It was always so fun to see the color coming up through those! – Katy

  5. wow what a cool science experiment i will have to show my daughter!

  6. Jenna Wood says:

    How clever, my niece loves learning with anything involving color, especially food dye. This is perfect!

  7. That is pretty cool! I bet my kids would get very excited to try this.

  8. Great idea!! I love doing little fun activities like this with the kids on snow days or in the summer when we’re all a bit bored. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jeanine says:

    I’ve done tons of science experiments with kids over the years and I don’t recall doing this one before. Sounds like we’ll have to stock up on paper towels for this weekend…

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