A Colorful Skittles Science Experiment for Kids

5/11/21 - By Ally Noel

Your kids may think you're a real live wizard when they see the colorful results of this Skittles science experiment. What they won’t know is that there is actually a lot of science behind those swirls and whirls of color.

The different colors in Skittles are composed of slightly different properties. When the warm water dissolves these colors, kids witness a phenomenon called water stratification. The different densities of each ingredient create a barrier between the colors and thus a very cool and colorful pattern. 

Only three simple supplies are needed to complete this super easy, sugary experiment at home. Find more science experiments in our STEM and Science Activities Guide for Kids.

Materials Needed for Skittles Experiment

  • Skittles
  • Warm Water
  • White Ceramic Plate With a Rim 

How To Do The Skittles Experiment

Step 1

Arrange the Skittles around the edge of the plate. Kids can select any color order they prefer. Different arrangements of skittles will result in different patterns. 

Step 2

Pour warm water gently over the Skittles. There should be enough water to fill the plate, but do not completely submerge the Skittles. 

Step 3

Wait a few moments for the different bands of colors to begin to spread toward the center of the plate. 

Discuss what you see and write down those observations as real scientists do.

Step 4

Let the kids make observations. What color tends to start dissolving first? Which colors spread the fastest? Can you control the swirls by arranging the Skittles in different patterns? Record your notes or just have fun chatting about it.

Too much time on their hands? Try making rock candy grow next.