Oil & Water Pie Plate Science Activity

Looking for a fun science activity?  This one is great any time of year, but using the pie plates can make it work great for Thanksgiving time, which is right around the corner!

Oil & Water science

Best of all it is a quick and easy set up!


  • Pie plates
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Pipettes


To start this activity, fill several plastic cups with water and then put in a different color of food coloring into each cup.  Next, pour some vegetable oil into each pie plate.  I put the pipettes into the cups of water.  Ask the children what they think will happen when they squeeze the water into oil and give them some time to answer.  You could also chart their responses onto a large piece of paper with a pie plate drawn onto it.  After they have responded, let the children squeeze the colored water into the oil and have them observe what is happening.  Is the oil and water mixing?  Did the oil change color?   Did the water sink or float?

Explain to the children that oil and water do not mix. Even when you mix oil and water together they will still separate. The oil always floats to the top because it is less dense than the water.

Let the children continue squeezing water into the oil if desired after the experiment.   This is a fun discovery activity and great for fine motor skills too!


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