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Liquid Rainbow

In my house we are VERY excited about the beginning of Spring... well sometimes we think it's coming and other times we are certain that winter will NEVER end.... but we are optimistic! My favorite thing about Spring (besides the warmer temps) is how the world looks so fresh and new! Flowers start blooming, animals come out and play, and rainbows abound!

A rainbow is truly a miracle....and if you are Christian like me, they remind you of God's great promise. And, that makes me happy. :)

Anyways, we made oobleck a couple weeks ago and my kids were really interested in the viscosity of that crazy stuff. So, I found this great science experiment to make a rainbow in a jar from "Sweet and Simple Things". This experiment is all about the viscosity of the liquids you place in the jar....starting with corn syrup (which has a high viscosity) and moving to alcohol (with has a very low viscosity). I was so surprised how much Reagan remembered about this big scientific concept! He was even about to tell me about each liquid's viscosity as he poured it in.

I went to Amazon and got this great book:

How to Make a Liquid Rainbow (Hands-On Science Fun)

Wanna make a liquid rainbow of your own? Read below to see how. My 6 year old Reagan did it basically by himself (with some guidance from mom) it's easy. This activity also provides a great opportunity to discuss measurement. I showed him where the 1/2 cup ling was and he was soooo careful to pour exactly to that line. SUCH great learning..... We had several different size cups, so we also talked about how the 1/2 cup line was in different places on the different cups.

*measuring cup
*large clear glass/container
*food coloring (red, blue, and green)
*Blue Dawn dish soap (light blue preferable, but dark blue will work)
*oil (I used olive oil, but any will do)
*light corn syrup
*rubbing alcohol

To make your liquid rainbow, start with the inverse colors. Purple will be first, then blue, green, yellow, and red. Yes - I know we are missing orange.....but trust me this is fantastic! Just go with it! :)


Pour 1/2 corn syrup in measuring cup. Add 1 drop of red food coloring and 1 drop of blue food coloring. Mix. Pour the mixture into the clear glass container.

(This is a great time to discuss how we make the purple color if your child doesn't already know. Turning red and blue into purple is nearly magical for a young child).


Pour 1/2 cup of blue Dawn dish soap into a measuring cup. Then, SLOWLY SLOWLY SLOWLY pour the blue dish soap along the side of the glass container. It's so important to go slow. You will start to see a layer of purple and a layer of blue. :)


Pour 1/2 cup of water into a measuring cup. Add 2 drops of green food coloring and mix. SLOWLY SLOWLY SLOWLY pour the green water down the side of your glass container. It will make a 3rd layer of green.


Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil (or other yellow oil) SLOWLY (you get my point) down the side of the container.
You now have 4 layers (purple, blue, green, and yellow).


Pour 1/2 rubbing alcohol into a measuring cup. Add 2 drops of red food coloring. Now, this is where it's super important to pour SLOWLY down the rim on the container. You will now have your top, red layer! SHAZAM!! -- a liquid rainbow!


#1 - I will tell you that when we made our first liquid rainbow, we poured our red layer too quickly and some went below the oil layer - so pour SLOWLY!!

#2 - Always err on the side of the colors being too light instead of darker. The colors show up better the lighter they are. If they are too dark, it all looks like a blaaaahhh dark mess.... 

The second round went PERFECT!

This is a quick and easy activity to do with your child! It took us from start to finish maybe 15 minutes... 

So ..... - go ahead and make your own LIQUIRAINBOW!!!!
Tell me how it goes! :)


  1. Love it! Such a cute activity!

  2. Thanks so much for posting this! I had everything on hand, so my son and I did this experiment to break up our lazy day! He loved it! I think I will do this experiment on St. Patrick's Day with my Kinders. :)

    Teaching Is Sweet

  3. A rainbow could be the refraction of light #science

  4. Great idea for Science and tie-in for St. Patty's Day! Thanks for sharing! Hope to do with my K class next week!

  5. Did you shake the jar? I would curious to know if the layers mixed or if they went back as they settled.