Friday, April 12, 2013

Fireflies in a Jar: Black Lights and Water Beads

We did this activity last year, but I've had quite a few folks ask about it, so I thought I'd share, especially since our bug themes are fast approaching.
A lovely friend informed me that if I soaked clear water beads in tonic water, they would glow under black lights.  I happen to have black lights that fit perfectly inside my light table, so I thought I'd try it out last summer for our unit on fireflies.

I let the water beads soak overnight and had the children count 10 for their small baby food jar, then I filled the jar with water, glued the lid and set up the light table.  For my son, we used the light table at night, but for class during the day, I created a 'tent' over the light table with a dark blanket, so the kiddos could watch their 'fireflies' in action.

The water in the jars did eventually get a bit icky, so I had to dispose of our lovely fireflies, but they were amazing while they lasted!


  1. Fun! I bought some tonic water last year for an experiment and never got around to using it. We really should try this!

  2. Such a cool idea. Thanks for linking up to Artsy Play Wednesday!

  3. Neat! We have been having fun with crystal water beads , and I would have never thought to bring them outside. Good to know they are safe for the garden. I hope you come by and share this tomorrow at The Outdoor Play Party.


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