Climbing Water Experiments for Kids: Defy Gravity with Water and Paper

Child watering plants

Your child knows that plants need water to grow. That’s a fact. But if you want to stump your child, ask him or her this question: How can water defy gravity by traveling up from the ground and into a plant?

Once your student is intrigued by gravity-defying water, work together to set up this fun activity, which is a great option as far as science experiments for online school go, since it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. (You’ll need water, but you won’t need any plants—just some strips of paper.)

Check out the details of how to conduct one of our favorite science experiments with water below.
 

“Does Water Defy Gravity?” Discover the Answer with One of Our Favorite Easy Water Experiments for Kids

Here’s what you need to conduct this experiment:

  • 2 small cups or glasses
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Food coloring – any color
  • Water
  • 3 books (something to give one of the water cups
    a height advantage)
     

Directions for the Climbing Water Experiment

  1. Cut a strip of paper towel at least 6 inches long, and approximately 1 inch wide.
  2. Fill both cups or glasses about halfway with water.
  3. Add 2–3 drops of food coloring to ONE of the cups of water and mix it up fully.
  4. Place the cup with the food coloring on top of the stack of books.
  5. Place the second cup on a flat surface next to the stack of books.
  6. Insert one end of the paper towel strip in the colored water, then drape it down into the second glass of water.
  7. Watch as water from the colored glass slowly creeps up the paper towel strip into the second glass! Take notes to log the progress.
     

Why Does This Experiment Work?

This experiment is a great way to experience and observe capillary action—the process that plants use to take in water from the ground. The water travels upward through the paper towel and into the second cup the same way that water travels upward through plants’ xylem tissues to give them nourishment.
 

Download the Climbing Water Experiment
 

Once you finish this experiment, give some of these
activities a try to keep exploring science experiments with water.
 

Test Different Types of Paper

Try this activity with these different types of paper from
around the house:

  • Toilet paper
  • Napkins
  • Tissues

How does each type of paper look and feel as it absorbs the
water? Does it transfer the water faster or slower than the paper towels? Pit
two different types of paper from the list above against each other and have a
race.
 

Mix Colors

Place 2–3 drops of food coloring into the cup with water and
2–3 drops of another color in the middle of your paper strip. Watch to see what
happens as the water hits the colors on the paper. What does the water look
like when it reaches the second cup? Try these color pairings:

  • Red and blue
  • Red and yellow
  • Blue and yellow
  • Red and green
     

Test How Plants Absorb Water

If your child wants to experiment with real plants, put a stalk of celery in a glass with water and add a few drops of food coloring. What happens over the course of time? You can also try this with other plants, such as carnations.
 

Grow a Plant with Paper

In this activity, you can grow a bean plant using paper towels. Line a glass jar with paper towels and slip a bean seed between the paper and the glass. Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the jar and watch the bean grow over the next couple of weeks.

So, as you can see, the answer to the question, “Does water
defy gravity?” isn’t always so simple! We hope you and your child enjoyed one of our favorite fun water experiments for kids.

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