Blog Trends in STEM

3 Kid-Friendly Firework Activities to Celebrate Summer

Trends in STEM

Summer is known for sunshine, outdoor exploration and awesome displays of evening fireworks. Did you know the dramatic shows that light up the sky are real-life chemistry demonstrations? It’s true! Minerals produce the exciting sights and sounds of summer fireworks. But you don’t have to wait for a baseball game or the Fourth of July to explore STEM with fireworks – we’ve got three fun, kid-friendly activities you can try any time!


Bottled Fireworks Shows

Using supplies that you likely have around your home, your family can create a miniature fireworks show right from your kitchen by following the simple steps below:

  • Start by grabbing a mason jar or other clear, glass recycled jar and fill it about ¾ of the way full of warm water.
  • In a separate small bowl, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • Grab one or more bottles of food coloring and add several droplets of each color into the oil – you can even use a fork to break some of the colors into smaller droplets. We recommend using the colors of the fireworks you are most excited to see this summer!
  • Slowly begin to pour the bowl of oil and food coloring into the jar of warm water and watch the magic begin!

As you all “ooh” and “ah” at your final product, take time to discuss the science behind what you’re seeing and help your child find the answers to their curious questions. Why don’t oil and water mix? What would happen if we changed the temperature of the water? How will the jar look after sitting still for a while?


Salty Watercolor Displays

Using liquid glue, salt and food coloring, you can create vibrant fireworks that pop off the page!

  • First, grab a sheet of paper – we recommend using cardstock or placing cardboard under thinner paper in case any liquid bleeds through the page.
  • Use the liquid glue to create a variety of firework shapes and sizes, and coat them thoroughly with salt before the glue begins to dry.
  • Dust off any extra salt and get ready to bring color to your 3D fireworks.
  • With a paintbrush, dab a small amount of food coloring that has been diluted with water onto the salt-covered glue and watch as the color spreads across the firework!

How does the color expand with just a touch? Salt is hygroscopic, meaning it can pull in water, causing the color to travel along your carefully crafted salt lines. To further this experiment, try switching salt for sugar or compare various kinds of salt. Encourage your child to make predictions and keep their observations in a designated STEM journal.


Contained Chemical Reactions

If your young innovator is not a fan of traditional crafting, don’t worry! Once you learn about the chemical reactions that occur to create the fireworks we see in the sky, you can explore safe and contained chemical reactions at home.

This STEM activity helps you discover chemical reactions that bubble and fizz using carbonation – like when carbon dioxide gas is added to drinks. Investigate different mixtures and learn other ways we witness chemical reactions in our daily lives.


There’s More to Explore

Stay tuned to our blog for more family fun and at-home STEM activity ideas!

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