St. Patrick’s Day Science Experiment

There are TONS of adorable St. Patrick’s Day crafts out there (and if you don’t believe me, check out my Pinterest board), but sometimes my inquisitive kiddos are looking for a bit…more. And no, that doesn’t mean more “devil’s dandruff”…err…glitter. Instead, they are looking for St. Patrick’s Day activities that involve exploration and discovery. Yours too? Then check out this St. Patrick’s Day science experiment so you can celebrate in a fun and colorful way.


In this experiment, young scientists will learn all about absorption and how it changes based on aspects such as materials and time. Not only will the kiddos get their hands dirty while learning, but they will also end up with a bright and colorful craft to have on display for St. Patrick’s Day.


6 clear cups



Food dye (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)

Variety of paper towels

Paper and pencil



One of the best things about this rainbow filled science project is that you can make it as simple or thorough as you want. The most important thing is to fill the cups with the same amount of colored liquid and then connect the liquid inside the cups with paper towels so that the color absorption is noticeable. Easy peasy!

Step One: Fill each cup with the same amount of liquid.

Step Two: Put 3-4 drops of food coloring in each cup. Cup one is red, the next is orange, and so on using the rainbow for guidance.

Step Three: Roll up paper towels and put each end of the paper towel into the colorful liquid in adjoining cups.

Step Four: Wait until the paper towels begin to absorb the colorful water and become completely dyed so that the experiment yields a colorful, paper towel rainbow.


Looking for a more in depth science project? Then start experimenting with different liquids. For example, compare how fast traditional water is absorbed as compared to vinegar. Does the temperature of the liquid make a difference?


Chat with your little scientists to see what other factors you can test. I mean, you can even pretend you are at a school science fair and test the absorbency of different brands of paper towels! (Yep, that was my science experiment in middle school…and I must admit that Brauny does have brute strength).


Lastly, be sure to focus on how important TIME is to absorbency. Set a timer to remind yourself to check on the paper towels after 15 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours, etc. My kids and I discovered that after 48 hours, the paper towels were so saturated that they simply couldn’t absorb anymore…and that once we dried them, the paper towels made GORGEOUS artwork.

Looking for other fun at home activities? Here are our tried and true favorites.

Happy Experimenting!
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  1. Leigh says

    What a great demonstration of absorption. And beautiful. Keep creating with your children, it is such a wonderful rich way to enjoy them while they are little. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. Emily says

    My kids love doing things like this! We have not done this before and I know they would enjoy it. I am always looking for little activities like this to keep them entertained during the colder months.

  3. Tomi C says

    What an awesome craft for St. Patrick’s Day. I love that it uses items we have around the house and that it’s easy enough that even the younger kids can get in on the fun.

  4. Terri Beavers says

    I have a grandson who loves science projects. I think he would really enjoy making this experiment. In fact, I think all of the grand kids would. They love vibrant colors and interesting tasks.

  5. Farida says

    I wished you also included a photo of the end result of the paper towel. But this sure is a fun way to keep the kids busy this summer season. The burst of color is also amazing!

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