Fireworks in a jar


This is an easy, safe experiment you can do using a few everyday things in your kitchen. The activity provides a good opportunity to try a variety of literacy skills – review and evaluation, description, summarising and retrieving information.


How it works

Follow the instructions for the experiment and then choose one or more follow up activities.


Fireworks in a jar experiment

You will need:

  • A clear jar or other clear glass container like a small vase or jug
  • Warm water (enough to fill your container ¾ full)
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 different colours of food colouring
  • A fork


What to do:

1. Fill your jar ¾ full with warm water.

2. Put your oil in a dish and add about 4 drops of each of the different colours of food colouring. Gently mix a little with your fork.

3. Pour the oil and food colouring mixture into your jar of water and watch the mini firework display in your jar.


Choose a follow up activity:

  • What words can you think of to describe what you see?

Can you come up with any interesting similes or metaphors – what do the bursts of colour remind you of? For more on what similes and metaphors are and how to write your own, check out our similes and metaphors module in the description course. Also take a look at the firework similes activity for more ideas.

  • What did you think of this experiment? Write a short review or statement. Think about:

How similar were they to real fireworks?

What were the best bits?

Was anything disappointing or did anything go wrong?

What would make it better – a bigger jar, more or fewer colours, mixing the colours more or less with the fork, shining a torch on it and doing it in the dark?

  • Take some photos or draw some pictures of the experiment. Add some instructions or descriptions to help you remember your experiment, or to show it to other people. You could record yourself doing it like on a YouTube video.
  • If you are interested, you could find out the science behind this activity. Research why the oil and water separate and why the food colouring bursts out of the oil and travels through the water.