Introduction: Silent Indoor Fireworks

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

In today's podcast, we talked a bit about how fireworks are dangerous, loud, and bad for the environment. They're also expensive! Luckily, you can make super neat indoor "fireworks" with stuff you probably have lying around in your kitchen. Here are two ways to do so! You can do one or the other, or you could do both and decide which one makes cooler fireworks.


Method 1

-two jars


-food coloring

-vegetable oil


Method 2

-deep plate

-whole milk



-food coloring

Step 1: Method One: Fill One of the Jars With Water.

The bigger the jar the better.

Step 2: Put Oil in the Second Jar.

This jar can be much smaller. Put about 2 tablespoons of oil in it.

Step 3: Add a Couple of Drops of Food Coloring.

Pick your favorite color!

Step 4: Stir With a Fork.

Break up the large drops into smaller ones.

Step 5: Pour the Oil Into the Water.

The oil will sit on top of the water, but the drops of food coloring suspended in the oil will begin to burst and flatten against the surface of the water.

Step 6: Watch the "fireworks"!

The drops of food coloring will slowly begin falling through the water, unfurling in slow motion. Because oil is hydrophobic (that means it won't mix with water), it floats on top of the surface of the water in the jar. But the food coloring is ALSO made of water, so as the drops start to break apart, they fall through the oil and start to spread slowly through the water.

You can mix up a second color and add it in, if you like. The colors will continue to fall for some time (the last picture was taken about ten minutes later).

Step 7: Method 2: Pour the Milk Into the Plate.

You want it to be 1/4" to 1/2" inch deep. Let it settle for a moment.

Step 8: Add Drops of Food Coloring.

Drop one of each color of food coloring into the center of the plate, near one another, but not touching.

Step 9: Put Dish Soap on the Q-tip.

One drop will do.

Step 10: Touch the Q-tip to the Plate.

Gently touch the Q-tip to the surface of the milk at the center of the plate, right in the middle of your food coloring dots. The color will explode outward.

Step 11: Watch Your "fireworks"!

This kept me entertained for a good ten minutes. The colors will eventually get muddier, but if you keep adding dish soap to the Q-tip, they don't stop swirling around, as if by magic. It's REALLY cool. Once your colors get too muddy, you can always dump it out and start over.

Have fun!