Fireworks in a Jar Experiment

By | March 22, 2013

I saw this experiment on Pintrest the other day and knew we had to give it a try.  So this past weekend I got all the supplies together while the girls were down in the basement playing and then yelled down “Do you girls want to do some Science?”  My oldest screamed YEAH and they both came running up the stairs and sat in their chairs at the table.  I just love how excited they are getting over Science.  I hope that they will stay this excited about it in the years to come!

This experiment is cool because you get to watch as the colors shoot down and mix in the water.  I will explain what is happening below but it is basically all about oil and water here.  But by adding the food color you get a show.  I can see why they call it fireworks in a jar but when I told my daughter that is what we were doing she started to back up getting ready for the explosion.  So I had to explain that it was not that kind of fireworks and we were just going to watch the colors shoot in the jar.  I think she was a little disappointed that there would be no loud bang.

What is happening with this experiment?
This one goes back to the basics of Oil and Water.  The fact is Oil and Water don’t mix and will actually push away from each other.  So when you add the oil & color mixture to the water the food color (which is water base) will push away from the oil and a very pretty display of color.  The colors will mix in the water which makes this a great color mixing activity too (which is why we only used primary colors).  You can try this several times mixing just red & yellow or yellow & blue and even red and & blue to see what colors they make.

Big jar of water (or a vase)
2 Tablespoons Oil
3 drops each of red, blue, & yellow food color
Measuring Cup


Fill your jar or vase with water
 Add your 2 tablespoons of oil to a cup (any cup that is easy to pour)
 Add 3 drops each of the red, blue, & yellow food color (do not add more your water will just turn black)
 Stir the food color and oil so the food color breaks up into smaller droplets
 Pour your oil mixture into your water
 Now watch the color show!

 As the color separates from the oil it will shoot down into the water making your fireworks.

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18 thoughts on “Fireworks in a Jar Experiment

  1. Jill

    What a fun idea, and great for young kids will definitely be giving this a go with my little boy. Have pinned for future reference :)

  2. Jessica @ A Humble Creation

    Looks like fun! Thanks for sharing at A New Creation! So wonderful that you are encouraging your young girls into science! The encouragement I received in science from my mom and other women led me to wonderful opportunities in life; keep it going!


    Love this! And it’s totally toddler friendly (well maybe minus the food dye droppers, that could be messy!) I look forward to trying this!! (P.S. I found you at Domestic Superhero Linky Party) xo, Dee


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