Oil & Water Experiments for Kids

In DIY Crafts, Fan Submission, Kids by Guest Poster0 Comments

This next science activity is great for kids of all ages!  It is easy to set up, mess-free, and makes a great boredom buster when the kids are stuck inside.  Besides that, it’s just plain fun!

FUN SCIENCE FOR KIDS:  Oil & Water Experiment.  Great for all ages!
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Exploring with oil and water is a simple yet fun activity that my kids love. Whenever I am trying to get dinner on the table and the girls are melting down a tray of vegetable oil with pipettes and colored water on the side is my “go to” boredom buster.  If you have five minutes you can set this up and keep the kids playing for hours! 

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Materials

Preparation
  • Begin by filling a shallow dish with oil.  We used baby oil here, but other oils will also work.  Set this aside.
  • In a cup combine 3-5 drops of food coloring with water and mix, using one cup for each color of water that you wish to make
FUN SCIENCE:  Oil & Water Experiment.  Great for all ages!

The Experiment
  • Give kids pipettes and have them squirt the varying colors of water into the pan of oil.
  • What happens?  The water and oil do not mix.  Instead, amazing effects are produced!

No matter how much water is added to the oil the two liquids will not mix

Pretty cool, right? Rosie loved the way the water beaded up in the oil and had lots of fun creating varying patterns as she explored.

Extend the Fun
Give kids a clear container of oil so that they can explore with these polar liquids in a different way. Fill the container with oil, and then have kids squirt the water colors into the container.  Then, observe the reaction between the two liquids.

My girls were in awe when we tried this and loved watching the water bubbles dance and move in the oil.  Overall, this was a really cool experiment, and the activity in itself is lots of fun!  

If you ever need to get dinner on the table, and the kids are hitting that “witching hour” keep this activity in mind.  All you need are few common household items, and the kids will play for hours!

The Science

Why does the water not mix with the oil?  

  • Oil is less dense than water.  Given the variance in densities the two liquids cannot mix.
  • Oil and water also do not mix because water molecules are more attracted to each other than to oil molecules.
  • Read more about the science behind oil and water here and here.  
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FUN SCIENCE FOR KIDS:  Oil & Water Experiments.  Great for all ages!
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