Try an easy prep Fourth of July float or sink experiment from Alisha. No actual fireworks needed!
My family just loves fireworks! They totally make our Independence Day celebrations, well, sparkle.
We also love anything involving water because summer is hot, water is not. And we’re ready to cool off!
Patriotic Float or Sink Experiment with DIY Fireworks
In our quest to add a little chill to our hands-on learning fun, we decided to add some DIY fireworks to a float or sink experiment!
It can be used as an awesome July 4th activity or for any festive event.
My kids really loved this idea, especially once they figured out that they could DIY a “fireworks show” any time they pleased!
To create your own totally safe fireworks show, you’ll need:
- White Paper
- Black Marker
- Shallow Dish
Make Your Own Kid-Friendly “Fireworks”
Grab a piece of white paper and draw an outline of a firework with black marker. Really, there are no rules to what this looks like so any blobby type shape works well.
The firework should have flaps that can fold inward. Flaps are vital to the experiment – so don’t skip this part!
Color the firework shape with crayons, making sure to color in all of the firework shape.
Try not to leave any white paper showing. Also: super important!
You can choose any colors for your firework, but for a July 4th activity you could choose red, white, and blue.
Once the firework is colored, have your child cut out the firework shape. Standby to help if your child needs it.
Help your child become a pro at cutting with scissors with a fun activity!
Work together to fold in the flaps of the firework. The flaps of the firework should be loosely folded and try not to overlap them.
The firework should have a nice flat surface on the bottom, with all the flaps folded into the middle.
DIY Your Fireworks Float or Sink Experiment
Grab a shallow dish or bowl and fill it with water.
Make sure the dish is big enough for the entire shape of the firework to fit inside. I used a clear pie dish for our initial float or sink experiment.
Pro Tip: for a larger fireworks show, use a bathtub, larger basin, or even a kiddie pool. You’ll be able to fit so many fireworks!!!
Talk with your child about what they predict (guess) will happen when the firework is placed on top of the water.
- Do you think your firework will float or sink?
- Will the colors change?
- Will the paper crumple?
Have your child gently lay the firework on top of the water. Keep the colors and flaps facing up.
Watch and be amazed!
As the firework opens, you could even add in some extra effect by making firework sounds. “Ooohhh” and “Aahhh” as if you’re watching a fireworks show!
It’s pretend play, so have fun!
If you’re not into adding your own crackles and pops, toss in a handful of Pop Rocks for some extra festive noise!
Let’s Talk Float or Sink Science for a Second
Okay, cool show – but why? After your experiment, it’s important to talk about the science behind the fun, too.
Keep on experimenting with 50+ more cool kid science ideas to try together!
Talk with your child about these important questions:
- Can you explain why the firework floats?
- Why didn’t the water soak in?
- Why did it open up?
You could record their answers and compare them to the experiment or their predictions. Plus, it’s really interesting to reread the reasoning of kids after the fact or when they’re older.
Here’s why this experiment works:
- Paper floats on water because it weighs less than the water.
- The paper firework is made of cellulose fibers and when the fibers are folded and placed in water, the fibers absorb the water and unfold themselves.
- The crayon wax keeps the firework afloat and holds its shape.
More Fun with Floating Fireworks
- For an added bonus, leave the firework in the water overnight and predict if it will remain floating or will end up sinking.
- Try pouring water on top of the firework to see what changes.
- Create differently shaped fireworks, as well as different sizes, to see if these small switches change the outcome.
- You can also make multiple fireworks and put on a “real” fireworks show to end with a big BOOM!