Dyeing Cotton with Kool Aid using Walking Water
We're back with more Science Fun for Kids! On Monday we shared weather experiments for kids. The theme for today is liquids. One of the coolest water experiments is the walking water experiment. I've seen this done in many ways including with color mixing. I wanted to demonstrate walking water for my boys with our own special twist on the experiment. It just so happened that we all needed crazy socks for a theme day at VBS that week. We only have plain white socks. Sure I could have made a quick trip to Target, but I thought it would be more fun to try a walking water dyeing experiment using Kool Aid.
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Directions: Mix 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and one Kool Aid packet. Expect the baking soda and vinegar to react, of course, and wait for the fizzing to stop. Repeat this step for as many colors as you'd like to use. I did three colors and dyed one sock for each of us in one color and chose another color for the matching sock. Drape the socks over the containers with only a small part of fabric touching the liquid mixture. Use another container per each sock to contain all of the liquid as the water "walks". Please note: I added a few drops of green food coloring to the lemon lime, because it wasn't dark enough with the Kool Aid alone.
Watching the walking water is so cool! It moved quicker than I expected. The boys were delighted to see the colored water move across the length of the socks.
The baking soda and vinegar are necessary to raise and lower the pH of the dye. Without these ingredients the Kool Aid would rinse right out of cotton.
The colors were gorgeous! I was so pleased with how each sock turned out.
After our walking water experiment was complete I put all six socks in the dye to be sure each retained enough color. I let them sit for about ten minutes.
Then I hung the socks on our clothesline to dry overnight.
Please note: I made a mistake and did not rinse the socks well before hanging to dry. As a result, we all had colored feet after VBS. The Kool Aid dye washed easily off our feet, but I highly suggest rinsing well before drying to avoid colored feet.
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If you enjoyed this walking water experiment click the images below for more liquid experiments for kids.