Oil and Water Science Experiment with Read Along Activity

Estimated read time 2 min read

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins is a beautiful picture book with information about sea creatures. In his classic style, he brings the reader down through various levels of the ocean and explores the unique animals that can be found at each point.

Our activity centered around this concept of having different layers or level in the ocean. Jenkins divides the sections by how much sunlight they receive and by the type of animal grouping that can be found there. We made oil and water sections and later played with adding different layers of dyed water.

What you need:

mixing bowls (various sized or all the same)

a recycled plastic bottle


vegetable oil (we use the cheap stuff for experimenting)


food coloring

glitter, optional

small sea/ocean themed figurines (plastic animals, seashells, etc), optional

What to do:

Begin by reading the book and discussing the different levels of animals and how the environment changes as you descend.

Before mixing, ask what your child expects to happen. Fill the bottle half full with oil, fill the second half with water. Watch and discuss how the two mediums interact.

Add a few drops of dye, how does it mix? Add glitter, see what happens. Add figurines, do they float or sink?

Challenge your kids to shake the bottle as hard as possible, jump with, roll the bottle, and any other ways to try to mix up the oil and water!

We moved the activity outside and kept a tray under the mixing area to keep the spills from spreading. Our hose was at hand for quick clean up too.

Fill the mixing bowls with water, add drops of dye in each bowl. Practice color mixing. Yellow + green = Yellow Green, blue + red = purple, green + blue = turquoise and so on. Make a chart or verbalize the number of drops they should use for each mixture.

The deeper the color, the deeper you are in the sea. When you want to go back up to the surface, dilute the water and let more sunlight back in!






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