Ooh and awe as you create a dramatic underwater show in a jar!



  • Clear container (vase, cup, jar or bowl)

  • Water

  • Vegetable oil 

  • Food coloring


  1. Fill your container about 3/4 full of water.

  2. Add a layer of vegetable oil. What do you see?

  3. Select which of the food colors you want to use for your your firework display.

  4. Carefully squeeze one drop at a time into the container. Usually 7 drops will do the trick. Cau­tion: col­orants may leave marks on the skin and sur­faces.

  5. Put on your firework music and watch the show. Without disturbing the container, notice how the food color drops behave. 

  6. Within a few minutes, the show will begin as the food coloring enters the water layer. Enjoy the watching the trail of colors spread and mix.

  7. You can continue to add drops, but be sure not to move the jar or the colors will all swirl together.


  • When you add oil to water, the oil floats on the top. Why is this? Oil and water do not mix because they are made of different kinds of chemical bonds that prevent them from mixing. Oil is made of carbon and hydrogen atoms that form non polar chemical bonds. Water is made of oxygen and hydrogen atoms that form polar chemical bonds. 

  • Food coloring is water-based. It will not dissolve in oil, but it will dissolve in water. What we observe is that gravity pulls the food coloring drops through the oil into the water. Once the food coloring is in the water, it immediately mixes and spreads, creating the liquid fireworks effect.

For projects for younger kids, look for Nigel the koala. 

BIG hint! You'll find Nigel in What's different? • Play portal • We Puzzle Together for Tots

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