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Smile Starter: Underwater fireworks Activity

What’s not to love about fireworks? They’re bright, beautiful and exciting. If you’re looking for an easy, safe and fun science project to do with firework loving kids, this is one mesmerizing experiment you’ll want to try. Create a whole new kind of fireworks show in a glass with just food coloring, water and oil. It couldn’t be easier.

Here’s what you need:

  • Food coloring
  • Room temperature water
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, peanut, olive — anything you have in your kitchen will work!)
  • A fork
  • A clear tall glass
  • A second glass

Here’s what to do:

  • Fill the tall glass almost to the top with water.
  • Pour the oil into the second glass.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring to the oil. (Any combination of colors will work, so have fun getting creative!)
  • Stir the oil and food coloring mixture for a few seconds. You want to break up the food coloring drops, but not completely mix up the liquid.
  • Pour the food coloring and oil mixture into the tall glass of water.
  • Watch as the food coloring sinks into the glass and starts to expand outward like little underwater fireworks!

So, how does it work? “Food coloring dissolves in water, but not in oil. When you stir the food coloring in the oil, you are breaking up the coloring droplets (though drops that come into contact with each other will merge… blue + red = purple). Oil is less dense than water, so the oil will float at the top of the glass. As the colored drops sink to the bottom of the oil, they mix with the water. The color diffuses outward as the heavier colored drop falls to the bottom.” according to About.com.

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