By Audra D.

The month of October is typically filled with candy! Did you know there are other healthier ways to enjoy that candy rather than eating it? This simple candy science experiment can be done with a package of Skittles and a few other household items. It provides a chance to talk about what things dissolve in water and their density. Be sure to talk together about the science behind why this experiment works and don’t be afraid to explore. You can check out these titles on Hoopla for even more ways to have alternative fun with candy: Candy Experiments and Eye Candy: Crafting Cool Candy Creations.  

Materials needed

  • 1 white plate or bowl 
  • 1 package of Skittles 
  • ¼ to ½ cup of water


  1. Arrange your Skittles on a white plate or bowl in a circle. Try to alternate the colors of the Skittles. They should be just barely touching. 
  2. Heat up between ¼ to ½ a cup of water in the microwave. You need the water to be warm but not too hot to touch.
  3. Gently pour the water into the middle of the plate until the Skittles are about halfway submerged in the water.
  4. Wait a few minutes and observe what happens!

Questions to ask

  • Will the colors mix together? Give your plate a shake and see!
  • Will this experiment work with other types of candy? Try it with different color M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces to find out.
  • Does the experiment work the same with lukewarm water? What about cold water? Try the experiment again with different water temperatures and time how long it takes for the colors to melt!

    How it works

    The coating on the outside of Skittles is what gives them their signature rainbow appearance. This coating is made of mostly sugar and food coloring. The warm water you added dissolves the outside coating and the food coloring starts to diffuse through the water.  The different colors each create a slightly different solution with different densities. This prevents the colors from mixing and creates a rainbow in the middle of your plate.  The colors will not mix until you disturb them by shaking the plate or mixing them by hand.

    Audra D.
    Adult & Teen Librarian

    Audra D.

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