Fireworks in a Glass

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In this activity, learners use water, oil, and food coloring to observe a chemical reaction that creates a shower of colors inside of a glass. The activity includes a time and age recommendation, a materials list, step-by-step set up instructions, tips for adults, learning and skills connections, a "what's going on" section, and a note about doing STEAM with kids.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Oil (corn, vegetable, whatever you have)
  • A tall glass (if you don’t have one, a regular drinking glass or jar is OK too)
  • A small glass jar with a lid


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Science Festivals Activity


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Boston Children's Museum, 2021