Water and Oil Fireworks

We re-did another favorite experiment, Water and Oil Fireworks. It’s our favorite because it’s simple, easy and really beautiful to watch.  It’s also the perfect activity to do with your kids with 4th of July right around the corner.
Do you know what the best part is about this experiment?  I’m pretty sure you can do it right now… because I’m going to bet you have all the supplies needed in your kitchen.  So if summer boredom has kicked in with your kids, you better run to the kitchen now!! 🙂


  • Tall drinking glass or vase
  • Oil (can be cooking oil or baby oil)
  • Food Coloring
  • Water
  • A smaller cup or bowl
  • Fork


Fill the tall glass/vase almost to the top with room-temperature water.   Next pour a little oil into the smaller glass or bowl.  You probably need only 3-4 tablespoons of oil.  I added a bit extra because of the size of our vase.   Then add a couple of drops of food coloring to the oil (we added pink, purple and blue).   You only need a few….you will see what happens if you add too much.  The girls were overly excited about adding the food coloring themselves, so I will show you what happens when too much is added.
You can tell the girls had too much fun with food coloring that day…their hands are stained with it.

Next take a fork and carefully stir it to mix the oil and food coloring together.

Pour the oil and food coloring mixture into the water.  Notice how the oil stays on top of the water.  This is because oil is less dense than water.


However, the food coloring will begin to sink because it is heavier than the oil.
Which then makes a beautiful “firework” display.


It’s so pretty to watch!

Next I thought I would try some baby oil.  I thought it would be prettier since it doesn’t have that yellow coloring to it like vegetable oil.

The girls however added way too much food coloring.  I think they added every color that I had!  But I wanted them to see what would happen.

Top View

As it started, it looked like it was going to be beautiful.

But it started turning brown very quickly as all the colors blended together.

The girls tried one more time…this time only using two colors (pink and light green)

Waiting anxiously on the firework show to start.

And there it goes!  We decided it was much prettier when we used less colors and limited the number of drops we added.

We hope you’ll have fun trying this out at home!

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