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for Curious Kids & Their Grown-Ups

Experiment: Water Xylophone (Camp Edition)

Make some music with this super simple DIY water xylophone sound science experiment. All you need are a few matching glasses, a spoon and water (food coloring is optional but it adds to the fun).


  • 5 or more matching glasses or glass jars
  • measuring cup or pitcher
  • water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • chopsticks or metal spoon



Step 1: Line your glasses up in a row. 

Step 2: Fill your measuring cup or pitcher with water.

Step 4: Add food coloring to the water until the desired shade is reached.

Step 5: Fill the glasses with different amounts of water in each glass.

Step 6: Grab a spoon and start tapping the glasses gently to make some sweet, sweet music.

Step 7: Does tapping the sides of the glasses make a different noise than tapping the top?

Step 8: Try using different tools for tapping. Can you tell the difference between a metal spoon and a wood or plastic chopstick?

What in the WOW is happening? Tapping the spoon on the glasses creates a vibration, which sends a sound wave through the water in the glass which makes the sound you hear. Wowzer!

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