Create a colorful rainbow pattern or make a flower in this easy to do skittles experiment! Kids will love seeing the dye from the skittles move when you add water. Learn about the science behind
RELATED: Dancing Raisins Experiment
In this experiment, you can observe candy dyes dissolving but also that the dyes won’t initially mix with each other as they dissolve.
Kids will love helping to line up the skittles, add the water and then watch the magic!
You can also make different patterns or shapes. We made a flower shape too!
Here’s what you’ll observe: the food dye from the skittles doesn’t initially mix with the water.
The skittles dissolve, but the colors do not initially mix with each other. The reason the food colors meet in the middle of the plate and do not initially mix is because each skittle has the same amount of sugar dissolving.
Watch the Video Tutorial
How is a Rainbow Made?
When you include every color in the rainbow in this experiment, you can create a colorful dissolving rainbow on your plate. When you add warm water, the water starts to dissolve the dye and sugar in the candy. Why does this happen? The colored sugar that is coating the candy dissolves in the water and spreads due to a process called diffusion. The sugar moves from the area where there is a lot of sugar to a place where there is less sugar.
Why do the Colors Not Mix?
The colors do not initially mix because each skittle has the same amount of sugar dissolving.
Do you Need Warm Water?
Yes, we found warm water works the best for this experiment. This is because the molecules in warm water move more quickly than cold water. The water will move faster to the center of the plate before the colors have a chance to mix together.
Follow-up Science Experiments
Ask kids what they think will happen and what their predictions are when you change the experiment. Try changing variables like adding cold water, different candy or adding in sugar cube obstacles to see what happens.
You can also try different shapes, like making a flower (see the flower version below).
Supplies for a Skittles Experiment
- Package of skittles
- We used both the regular skittles and the tropical packs to get red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple to make our rainbow pattern.
- Warm water
- A plate that is slightly curved in (this helps to direct the water into the center when the candy dye dissolves)
- A dropper or pipette (for the flower version)
How to do the Skittles Experiment
1. Line up your skittles into the shape of a circle on a dish that is slightly curved in.
It needs to be slightly curved so that the candy dye will run into the center.
Continue until you have a full circle.
We did a rainbow order but you can use any pattern of colors!
2. Slowly add in warm water into the center of your circle.
You do not want the water to go too far beyond the circle of skittles. But you do need the water to touch each skittle so that it can dissolve the dye.
3. Now watch the magic!
The dye from the skittles will slowly start to move into the center.
The candy dye will slowly dissolve and the dye color will move from the candy to the center of the dish.
To Make the Flower Version:
1. Create the flower center using the color of your choice. We did yellow.
2. Create the petals with skittles in a different color.
3. Add warm water into each petal and the center of the flower using a dropper or pipette.
The candy dye will slowly dissolve and the dye color will fill the petals of the flower.
The best part about this experiment is kids can enjoy the skittles when they are done!
More Science Experiments
Try this fun and easy Grow a Rainbow Experiment. You only need washable markers and paper towel!
For another fun experiment, make some oobleck!
Try a rainbow rain cloud in the jar experiment!