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Rainbow Jar – Science Project for Kids of Any Age

on January 9, 2015

A few days ago I had a long, lazy morning with my daughters and decided to pull together a fun science project called RAINBOW JAR that I knew they would like and I was pretty excited to see for myself.  I originally found it on a site called Playdough to Plato, an adorable site dedicated to kids, learning and fun.

Rainbow Jar is pretty simple, very hands on for my (2) 5-year-olds and can be altered in several ways to accommodate for whatever ingredients you have in the house.  I personally looked at the list of needs a day ahead of time to make sure I had what I needed.  Thank goodness I did, because I needed to run to the store.  Here’s what I got:

  • A tall, see-through container – I used an old juice bottle that I saved for art projects – thankfully I had two
  • Honey
  • Light corn syrup
  • Dish soap – I bought blue, but there are many available colors on grocery shelves
  • Olive oil
  • Food coloring

The original Playdough to Plato post adds a couple additional ingredients, but I found these 4 to be the perfect amount to keep my girls entertained and focused on the project from beginning to end.

Step 1: Pour honey in the middle of the bottle or jar opening.  Be careful not to touch the sides.  You will be adding each liquid on top of each other and if they touch the sides it will be harder to see the separation.  It’s up to you how much you want to pour.  I tried to make sure I had enough to split among the two bottles and also account for how many layers we would have before reaching the top of the bottle.  But it’s flexible.  Have fun!

rainbow jar 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Add 5 drops of food coloring (we chose purple, since our dish soap was blue) to the corn syrup and mix thoroughly.  Pour colored corn syrup into the middle of the bottle or jar opening.

Step 3: Pour dish soap into the middle of the bottle or jar opening.  By now, the kiddos should understand why it’s important to stay in the middle.  Though, they may also be tempted to pour it on the sides, just to “make sure” you’re telling the truth.  Or that could just be my house…

rainbow jar 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Pour olive oil into the middle of the bottle or jar opening.  Fill toward the top and put the cap back on.  Remind your little ones not to shake or tip the bottle on the side.

Step 5: Walk the bottle or jar over to a window (hopefully it’s daytime!) and look at the layers of color against the light.  Amazing!

rainbow jar 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rainbow jar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS – this project is a great opportunity to talk to kids about molecules and density.  I briefly explained that heavier liquids (more molecules) are the ones that stay at the bottom of the bottle while the lighter liquids (less molecules) are the ones that float on top.  This idea also came from the original post and was adorable.  While my daughters listened, it didn’t exactly register, so I moved on quickly from the “lesson” and dove straight into the pouring and hands on activity.  Overall, a HUGE success.  Especially when my daughter Claire decided that “science is really fun!” when it was all over.

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