Cool Science Experiments For Kids:
Fun With Glow Sticks

bracelet light sticks
pendant light sticks

Here's a perfect way to enjoy cool science experiments for kids by getting a free e-book of our top ten experiments that won't let you down!

Let's start by showing you how to use glow sticks to investigate  bioluminescence.

I can guarantee lots of fun along the way!

You can try experiments in the bath, go night-time bowling and use your back garden as a science lab.  You'll be doing some glow stick painting too!

A word of warning: kids will love experimenting with light sticks but this is an adult supervised activity. 

Glow sticks have glass tubes inside.   With care, these experiments are all kid friendly but you are responsible for ensuring safety at all times.

cool science experiments

Kids Science

You'll have seen bioluminescence being used by animals from fireflies to anglerfish.

You can teach your kids a bit about it by mimicking the effect by using light sticks in the dark.

Firefly facts. They use bioluminescence and are the most efficient producer of light in the world.

Glow sticks are examples of products using luminescence.

Now I know this is all a bit of an excuse to have a bit of fun.

But I think that's fine.

I believe teaching kids science is all about getting kids excited about the world around them. 

Once they're interested, they'll want to find out all sorts of things and if playing with glow sticks spark your child's imagination - great!

See more fascinating facts about fireflies below.

Glow Sticks Experiments

Glo Sticks In The Bath

glow sticks in the bath
bobtail squid from East Timor

This is a beautiful picture of a squid using bioluminescence to hide its silhouette.

There's an easy way you can find out what luminescence looks like underwater.

Try putting glow sticks in your bath!

Why not get your kids to add some bubbles and see what effect that has?

Cool Experiments With Luminescence

You can also show how animals use bioluminescence to attract others of the same species.

Get the kids to go round the house and put light sticks in darkened rooms.

We tried hanging ours off the hall chandelier!

glow stick chandelier

Even more fun for cool science experiments for kids is to use you garden as a science lab.

Go outside and try pretending to be a firefly and hang light sticks from tree branches!

glow sticks experiments comparing with female glowworm

You can do an easy experiment to compare the light you get from candles to the light given off by glow sticks.

  1. Light some floating candles and see how much light they give out.
  2. Get your kids to blow out the candles.
  3. The adult can then snap a light stick and pour the inside into the candles. 

You can see ours glowing as brightly as the female firefly!

"My son has a glass jar filled with water and iron filings. He uses neodymium magnets to manipulate the iron. We turned all the lights off one evening, activated some glow sticks, cut them open and poured them into the jar.

Definitely doing it again. We had to rinse the filings several times the next day because they rusted (but that is also a science lesson)."

~ Katy, homeschool-activites Facebook fan

What Is Bioluminescence?

Wikipedia gives the official definition, but basically you're showing your kids that animals can produce and give out light. 

Bioluminescence is a form of chemiluminescence where light energy is released by a chemical reaction, which is the way glow sticks work.

Fascinating Facts About Fireflies

Here's some amazing science facts about fireflies which show how cool science experiments can be:

Fascinating facts about fireflies
  • Fireflies use light to signal to each other
  • Firefly lights are the most efficient lights in the world; in a standard lightbulb, only 10% is light and the rest is given off as heat
  • Different species have different 'blink rates' so they light up in different patterns
  • Some firefly eggs actually glow
  • Fireflies produce light using a chemical called luciferase or luciferin which is useful in biomedical research
  • Blue ghost fireflies are so named because they glow with an eerie blue or green light.

See more fascinating facts about fireflies here, including the fact that fireflies can be HUGE. Females of the Lamprigera firefly can grow to be the size of your palm!

Fun With Glow Sticks

What about light stick toss?  Great fun for cool science experiments for kids.

glow stick toss

Or glo stick bowling?

glow stick bowling

Cool Activities

And then there's light stick painting

We've got lots of fun children's art activities to try, but be careful on this one - you probably need to do it yourself.  

When you snap a glow stick, the liquid is contained in a glass tube.  To avoid the danger of bits of glass, I think you should do the painting and your child can admire how cool it looks!

You'll see the glowing paint brush in the middle of my surreal picture:

glow stick painting

And don't forget the mason jar!

I used pendant glow sticks because they have more liquid and then dropped some sequins and glitter inside for extra fun.

Glow sticks used to light up a mason jar

Free Printable Sheet

You can download our free printable sheet with cool science experiments for kids using glow sticks.

If you're worried about the safety aspect, Wikipedia tells you precisely what light sticks contain.

In the free printable sheet, you'll find lots of easy and fun activities like:

  • Glow-in-the-dark lanterns
  • Light up balloons
  • A surprise for Easter Bunny!

Free Science EBook

ten science experiments that won't let you down e-book
  • Get a free e-book of my top ten science activities that won't let you down!

Cool science experiments for kids like this are great for having fun together.  

Want to remember this? Pin the Glowsticks Science page to your favorite Pinterest board!

Kids science experiments with glow sticks

blue arrow
free homeschool newsletter

FREE Homeschool Newsletter

"Just had a look through your monthly newsletter focusing on math. Thanks so much for all the links and ideas. It's brilliant!" ~ Diana      

"Hi....I totally love all your posts and enjoy reading them....the kids love the activities and enjoy them through and through." ~ Bianka

18,000 Facebook Fans

Enjoy This Page? Please Share It....

Sonya Chappell

Free Newsletter

Homeschool activities monthly newsletter

Homeschool Secrets of Success

Homeschool Secrets of Success
Amazon review
Learn more

"With the education system failing so many brilliant children it's great to be able to have resources like your website for inspiration, ideas and just a sense of belonging. What you are doing for your children is priceless." ~ Natalija

"I really appreciate your time and effort that goes into your posts... It's nice to see that you are a 2nd generation homeschooler." ~ Teresa

"Your newsletters & book have helped us through our journey.  For that I can only thank you.
Please, please, please keep it up, people like you make our home school life so much easier." ~ Kelly

"I have joined paid sites that were not even one percent as great as this site. Really amazing what you are doing and so so helpful thanks so much!" ~ Eli