By: Rebecca Michelsen M.Ed., MCHES, Manager of Community Outreach & Family Programs
Kids of all ages love science experiments and learning along with your child is a great way to spend quality time together. If you’re looking for a creative experiment with ingredients you can find around the house, making a rainbow jar is a fun choice! Rainbow jars introduce young children to the basics of chemistry and are a hands-on way to help kids understand how different ingredients interact with each other.
To start this experiment, first gather your supplies. You will need:
- Food coloring: colors red, blue and green
- Glass jar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup blue dish soap
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Extra jars for mixing
- Spoons for mixing
- First, squeeze one drop of red food coloring and one drop of blue food coloring into the cup of honey and combine. You will notice your liquid is now purple. Help your child pour the purple liquid into the glass jar.
- Second, add the dish soap on top of the purple liquid already in the jar.
- Third, combine 2 drops of green food coloring to ¼ cup of water and mix. When combined, pour the green liquid into your jar.
- Fourth, when your colors are settled, pour the olive oil into the jar.
- Fifth, combine 2 drops of red food coloring with the rubbing alcohol and mix together. Pour this last liquid into your jar. And there you have it! A beautiful rainbow jar that can be displayed in a window sill to let the light shine through.
What’s the science behind it? The colors in the jar remain separated because of their different densities. The liquids with more density are poured in the bottom of the jar and those with less density are poured toward the top.
Doing experiments with your young child is a fun way to introduce science early on which will help him understand more complicated processes when he’s older. They also engage your child’s brain and help him learn and practice explaining the experiment to others, thus increasing his comprehension of the lesson.
What simple science experiments have you tried with your child?