Preschool Science: Oil & Water

My preschooler goes bananas for any project that involves food coloring, so this week, we dyed some water and experimented with how it behaved in a bowl of baby oil.  You can use any type of oil for this, but we make homemade wipes, so we always have plenty of baby oil on hand!

We dyed water in all three primary colors and then used an infant medicine dropper to drip it into the oil.  From the top, it was fun to watch the colors in the water mix, but the best view was from the side.  Here we could really see the water bead up inside the oil and then watch the beads “pop” as they joined together.


The effect was similar to watching one of these bubble timers — very mesmerizing!  If your kids are already familiar with these, you can try this activity to explain how they work!

I would recommend trying this with perhaps two colors instead of three.  When ours all mixed, they made a puddle of that nondescript greyish sludge you get when you mix all the primaries.  My kid could not be talked into a two-color experiment, but it would yield a prettier result.

After we were done adding water to the oil, we also used the droppers to pull up a little of the mixture and watched how it separated inside the tube.


What are you experimenting with today?

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