Shanghai S.T.E.A.M: The Rainbow Color Walk

by Parents and Kids | Mon, March 12, 2018

By Connor Bell

I have been teaching and working in Early Childhood Education for six years now. I have worked in international kindergartens, preschools, run my own daycare and am currently co-owner of three childhood education focused companies. With this experience, I have tried and tested a million different approaches to learning and none have impressed me as much as S.T.E.A.M. (or more commonly known as S.T.E.M.).

S.T.E.A.M. is an educational approach and way of thinking that makes use of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths for daily learning. These subjects help guide student inquiry, discussion and critical thinking and I have found that educators who employ S.T.E.A.M in their lesson planning produce students who are engaged, understand problem-solving, cause and effect and can take thoughtful risks.

This approach is not only limited to schools. We as parents can easily bring S.T.E.A.M. into our homes with weekly tasks and activities. Each month I will present to you a new activity, its benefits, reasoning and what can be gained by this action.

Rainbow Walking Color Science

Teaching primary and secondary colors is not always easy and kids need visual aides to be able to understand the reactions that take place when two primary colors are mixed. This wonderful science experiment not only teaches children about colors and color mixing, but also about absorption, gravity and evaporation. Use this activity and expand on the teaching points, dialogue ideas and further cause and effect discussion.

What you'll need

• 6 small jars or glasses (little baby food or yogurt jars are perfect!)

• Food coloring (blue, yellow, red)

• Paper towel

• Timer


1. Fill three jars with water and add the food coloring. Red in one jar, blue in the next and yellow in the last.

2. Take this time to go over the color wheel with your child. Discuss all the colors they can identify, what colors they can find around the house and ask them if they know what will happen when they mix colors. Using the color wheel, you can show your child that mixing colors will make a rainbow. Challenge your kids to determine which colors will create the right combinations to make all the colors of the rainbow.

3. Arrange your jars in a circle with one empty jar between each colored jar.

4. Roll paper towels into tube-like strips and place one end in a colored jar and the other end in an empty jar. Repeat with six pieces of paper towel, so that there are two different rolls in each jar.

5. The paper towels will start soaking up the colored water instantly and will begin transferring into the empty jar due to gravity. It can take up to 48 hours to fully complete mixing, so make sure to keep checking in and discussing the progress that is being made!