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Elf on the Shelf Skittles Rainbow Science Experiment with Free Printable

Grab the Elf on the Shelf Skittles Rainbow Printable for an easy and creative Elf on the Shelf idea! It’s one of our favorite easy elf ideas that includes some STEM learning and impresses younger kids every time! 

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If you’re looking for great Elf on the Shelf ideas, we are so excited to share one of the best easy ideas that wows kids and you can throw together in a few minutes! Even if you are new elf parents, this simple idea combines some elf antics in a great way with easy science experiments

We know your first year (or your 10th) of doing the elf on the shelf tradition can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming coming up with something new every day of December. Even if you just move the elf to a new spot with the elf on the shelf rules, it can be hard to avoid the last-minute late-night panic. But we’re here to help with a great idea that only requires buying (or finding in your pantry) one candy item that we know will bring so much joy to small kids the next morning. 

Elf on the Shelf Skittles Activity 

For this easy activity, you’re going to help your scout elf impress kids by turning some Skittles into a rainbow using only warm water. It’s a fun way to show a little bit of science with color transfer and defusion. Best of all, it’s almost like a magic trick that only takes a minute to do! Without much time, you’ll have a magical rainbow that feels so fitting for a little elf to bring during the Christmas season. 

Printable Elf on the Shelf Skittles experiment.

Grab the Elf on the Shelf Skittles Printable Here!

We’re walking you through exactly how to do the elf Skittle rainbow magic. However, before we get to the simple science experiment, you’re going to need some free printables to add a little extra Christmas magic to use with your little magic visitor from the North Pole. Just input your name and email address, and we’ll send the free elf printable your way ready to use for an easy Elf on the shelf idea! 

Elf on the Shelf Skittles Rainbow Printable

Skittles rainbow science experiment free printable.

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    ​This is a fun printable to put in your elf’s hands to introduce the activity. 

    *Many email clients auto-download the printable once you’ve confirmed your email. Please check your Downloads folder for the Elf Skittles free printable download. 

    * The printable in this blog post is for personal use only 

    Skittle Science Experiment with an Elf on the Shelf.

    Unleash the Rainbow: Elf on the Shelf  Skittles and Water Science Experiment Tutorial

    Get ready to witness the magic of science and candy collide! The Skittles science experiment is a classic for St. Patrick’s Day, but a lot of fun for the Elf on the Shelf Christmas tradition too! And this mama loves the chance to turn a fun activity into an educational activity in creative ways! 
    This fun and colorful experiment uses Skittles and water to explore the wonders of dissolving and chromatography. It’s perfect for kids of all ages and requires minimal materials, making it ideal for a rainy day activity or a classroom demonstration. 


    • Elf on the Shelf Skittles Printable 
    • Skittles (a variety of colors is best)
    • White plate (white plates it much easier to see) 
    • Warm water (1 cup of water is plenty) 
    • Paper towel (optional)


    1. Arrange the Skittles: Place your Skittles around the outer edge of the plate, like the spokes of a wheel. Try to use a rainbow spectrum of colors for the best visual effect. 
      Skittles arranged in a circle on a white plate
    2. Warm Up the Water: Fill a glass with warm water. Hot water will work too, but be careful not to burn yourself! Warm water helps the colors dissolve and spread faster than cold water.
    3. Flood the Middle of the Plate: Gently pour the warm water into the center of the plate, filling it until the Skittles are about halfway submerged.
    4. Observe the Rainbow Unfurl: Sit back and watch the magic happen! The sugar dissolves and the different colors from the Skittles will start to dissolve and spread outwards through the water, creating a mesmerizing rainbow effect.
    Skittles Elf on the Shelf experiment with skittles turning into a rainbow.

    Science in Action:

    As you observe the swirling colors, you’re witnessing two scientific phenomena:

    • Dissolving: The sugar and food coloring in the Skittles’ candy shells are soluble, meaning they dissolve in water. The warm water molecules act like tiny tugboats, pulling the sugar and color molecules away from the candy and into the water.
    • Chromatography: This is the separation of a mixture based on the different rates at which its components travel. Each dye color in the Skittles has a slightly different size and chemical makeup, causing them to move through the water at different speeds. This separation creates the distinct bands of color you see in the rainbow.

    We are STEM-loving parents so we love having a little learning moment while our kids enjoy fun activities. You can certainly skip that explanation, but sometimes it’s an easy way to include new ideas and learning helps make a cute idea into a cool learning opportunity! 

    Experiment Variations:

    If this isn’t your first time and you’ve already done a similar experience with your own elf last year, here are a few fun ways to make it feel new and exciting this holiday season

    • Test different water temperatures: See how cold, room temperature and hot water affect the dissolving and color movement.
    • Predict the rainbow order: Can you guess which color will travel the fastest and slowest based on their chemical properties?
    • Create a Skittles sun: Place a small disc of white paper in the center of the plate before adding the water. As the colors spread, they’ll create a sunburst pattern around the paper.
    • Explore density: Add a drop of oil or dish soap to the water and watch how it interacts with the colored water. Oil and soap have different densities than water, creating fascinating swirling patterns.

    Safety Tips:

    • Adult supervision is recommended for young children.
    • Do not eat the Skittles after the experiment, as the water may have absorbed contaminants.
    • Dispose of the water and Skittles responsibly after the experiment.

    Have fun and let your curiosity guide you as you explore the science behind the Skittles and water rainbow!

    If you need more cute elf ideas, check out these blog posts with elf-on-the-shelf printables:

    Editable Elf Letter Template 

    Elf Welcome Letter 

    – Elf Twister board games printable

    And here’s to you being the best elf parent you can be and making the following morning exciting for kids!

    Like this fun Christmas idea? Be sure to check out these posts too:

    Dot Painting Christmas Tree Printable 

    Lego Advent Calendars for Kids 

    Santa Beard Craft (Make the Big Man Out of Cotton Balls) 

    Christmas Eve Traditions for Families

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