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Candy Science

What happens when you take a delicious snack and mix it with liquid? You’ve tasted the rainbow, now you can explore it in this exciting science experiment using coloured candies.

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  • What materials do you need to complete this activity?
  • How much time will this activity require?
  • Will you do this experiment in a large group or smaller groups? How will you decide?


  • Gather your materials
  • Fill the shallow plate with water
  • Arrange the candies in a triangle near the center or the plate
  • Let the colours from the candies spread through the water
  • The colours should form a cross in the center of the plate
  • Once the coloured cross is formed, place a sugar cube or a spoon of sugar in the center of the colours
  • The colours should start to move away from the sugar, why do you think that is?
  • When you add the candies, they start to dissolve in the water which sends the food colouring from the candies outwards
  • The reason why the colours don’t mix in the middle is because each food colouring has the same amount of sugar dissolved from each piece of candy making them equal
  • When you add sugar to the center of the plate, the sugar begins to dissolve which increases the amount of sugar found in the center meaning the outer edges of the plate have the least amount of sugar
  • As more sugar is dissolved into the center, it pushes the colours outwards to the less sugar concentrated water
  • This is called a concentration gradient
  • Experiment with other liquids to see if they have the same effect as water does on the candy.


  • What surprised you during this experiment?
  • What is something that you learned?
  • What was challenging about this experiment?


  • Different coloured candies (something with a candy coating, like Skittles or M&Ms would work best)
  • Sugar cubes or a bag of sugar
  • Water
  • Shallow plate
  • Spoon
  • Other liquids to test (hot water, soda, vinegar, etc.)

Keep it Simple

  • Explore how candy reacts with hot and cold water. Make some hypothesis (guess) and then test it out!

Take it Further

  • Select a few different types of candies and do this experiment a few times. What are the differences between the different kinds of candies?