L. Sarhan is a mother to two boys and one girl. Although they are adults now, she made sure to find ways to make their childhood fun.
Most children, and even some adults, love things that glow in the dark. There are several activities and projects that will excite children of all ages. Parents are always looking for ways to give their children memorable experiences that will last a lifetime and that they can pass down to their own children one day. These glow in the dark activities will definitely be memorable!
#1 Glow in the Dark Bubbles
Most kids love bubbles! Amp up their excitement by turning off the light and blowing glow in the dark bubbles. Here are a few ways to make them.
The easiest way is to break open a glow stick and pour it into any bubble solution. You could also make your own bubbles that would be more durable than store-bought. Keep in mind that although they may glow in the dark, the glow isn't as bright and it doesn't last very long. Also, consider the toxicity level of glow sticks. To avoid ingestion, it may be best to have adults blow the bubbles and let the children play in them.
Basic Bubble Solution Ingredients
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 2 cups dish soap, Dawn works best
Another way to make bubbles glow in the dark is with tonic water. For this, you will need a black light to get the bubbles to glow. Once you have added the tonic water and turned on the blacklight, this will produce bubbles that are a light blue color. The reason why tonic water allows the bubble to glow under a black light is due to a chemical found in the tonic water called quinine.
Glow in the Dark Paint
A third way is to mix a small amount of non-toxic glow in the dark paint to the bubble solution. It will also make the solution thicker. This produces vibrant colors that glow stronger and last longer. To enhance the brightness of the bubble, consider turning on a black light.
You can also mix the ink from a highlighter with the bubble solution. Almost any color works, except for blue. Orange and green highlighters are better than the blue to use but yellow highlighters produce a brighter color that lasts longer when using a black light.
#2 Glow in the Dark Slime
Are you looking for a great party favor? Consider making homemade slime. Most children love the gooey substance. Add an extra affect that will make that slime glow.
Homemade Glow in the Dark Slime
- 1 cup white glue (that would be two 4 oz. glue bottles)
- 3-4 tablespoons of glow in the dark paint; color of your choice but green or yellow works best for slime color. There is also uncolored glow in the dark paint as well.
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- Neon food coloring, using the best matching color to the paint you choose.
- 1 teaspoon borax
- 1/2 cup warm water, plus the water from glue containers
Empty the white glue into a medium bowl. Then fill the empty glue bottles with warm water and shake well. Next, pour the watery glue mixture into the medium bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Once mixed well, add the food coloring and glow in the dark paint. In a separate bowl, mix the borax into the warm water. Then add the borax water to your glue mixture and mix well.
Please note that if you want the slime to be thinner, then add less borax. If you want it to be thicker, add more borax; a little at a time to test consistency. Also, consider using glitter glue in place of regular white glue. This will make the glow in the dark slime sparkle as well as glow.
#3 Glow in the Dark Playdough
Most kids love playdough. Many parents have resorted to making homemade playdough to save some money. How about giving that homemade playdough a little glow and sparkle? This is a fun activity that kids will love spending hours in the dark. However, keep in mind that the playdough glows best under a black light.
- 5 cups flour
- 2 1/2 cups salt
- 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 10 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 cups of water
- Food coloring
- a few tablespoons of Glo Away by Plaid
- Black Light
Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and water together in a large pot and stir together until smooth. Cook over low heat. The mixture will start off lumpy but will become smooth as it cooks. Add in the Glo Away. Keep mixing until the dough is pliable. Once the dough is ready, place on a surface that doesn't stain easily. Add a little food coloring and knead the dough until the color is fully mixed in. Then turn on the blacklight and it is ready to go. This glow in the dark play dough can last for months if sealed properly in a ziplock plastic bag or a plastic container.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- few drops of food coloring
- 1 cup of boiling water
- glow in the dark paint
Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Carefully add the boiling water and start to mix well with a spoon. Once the mixture is combined well and cooled to where you can comfortably touch it, continue mixing with your hands. You can separate the dough into several balls. Mix different color food coloring and glow in the dark paint. Knead the dough until it is pliable and the color is well blended. Turn on the blacklight and enjoy the glowing creations your child makes. Store in ziplock plastic bags or plastic containers.
#4 Firefly Jars
Whether your child uses a nightlight or not, he or she will love having firefly jars in his or her room at night. There are a couple of different ways to create the effect of fireflies in a jar without having to actually catch fireflies. Not to mention you can use this technique all year round.
- glow in the dark paint
- small brush paintbrush
Using whatever color glow in the dark paint you like, add little paint dots on the inside of a jar. You can use a mason jar or simply recycle jars from the kitchen, such as pickle jars, by washing them thoroughly. Add the lid and expose it to plenty of light before dark. Although you can sit next to a lamp, it is better to set it out in the sun if possible. Once the sun goes down and it is time for your child to go to bed, set the jar or more than one jar in your child's bedroom.
- glow sticks
- scissors or sharp knife
Cut open the glow sticks and splatter the contents within the jar. This method doesn't glow as bright as the glow in the dark paint and doesn't last as long but can still be quite beautiful.
#5 Glow in the Dark Bath Time
Make bath time fun by using a variety of ways to make it glow in the dark. You can use glow in the dark bath paints, glow sticks, or even make the water itself glow. The key is to install a black light in the bathroom. This will cause a variety of things in the bathroom to glow, but it will also make the glow in the dark items glow much brighter.
You can add tonic water to the bathwater for a non-toxic option that will make the bath water glow a bright blue under the black light. There seems to be a difference in opinions among parents. Some parents complain that it makes the water sticky, whereas other parents say they did not experience any sticky residue. Just experiment with the quantity of tonic water to the quantity of bathwater.
You can crush 1-2 tablets of Vitamin A or any of the B vitamins, such as B vitamins thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. These vitamins are strongly fluorescent. After crushing the tablet, dissolve it in a glass of warm water before adding to the bathwater. Turn on the blacklight and watch it glow a bright yellow color.
Perhaps you do not want to add anything to alter the bathwater itself? You could always just toss a variety of glow sticks, glow bracelets, glow stars, etc. to the bathwater. Unlike other projects, do NOT open the glow sticks. Just toss them in the water with their other toys. Again, black lights intensify the color and brightness.
- 1 teaspoon fluorescent tempera paint (non-toxic)
- 2 cups shaving cream
- black light
Put shaving cream in a bowl and add paint. Mix well. Repeat if you want multiple colors. You can put the glow in the dark bath paint in muffin tins or plastic bowls that will float.
#6 Glow in the Dark Chalk
Are you looking to bring some added excitement to family night? Consider letting the kids go outside and create glow in the dark designs that are out of this world. Or maybe you have chalkboards or chalkboard walls? This is a fun way for the kids to create glowing designs without having to be outside after dark.
- 1 cup plaster of paris
- 5-6 teaspoons glow in the dark paint
- 1/2 cup water
- ice cube trays or other molding containers
- petroleum jelly
Add glow in the dark paint to the water. Slowly begin stirring in the plaster of paris. Coat the inner lining of the ice tray or other molding container of your choice with petroleum jelly. This will keep it from sticking later. Store the container in a cool, dry place overnight.
#7 Glow in the Dark Face Paint
This idea is great for Halloween, carnivals, parties, or simply a fun night at home with friends and family. This is a great activity for sleepovers as well.
- 2 tablespoons cold cream
- 4 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons glow in the dark powder
- 1 - 2 drops food coloring for color
In a bowl add corn starch, cold cream, glow in the dark powder, and food coloring. Store in small plastic containers or jars. Baby jars are great for storing the glow in the dark face paint. Store in the refrigerator when not in use. Although all you need is for the mixture to absorb some UV light, you can simply turn on a black light to intensify the glow.
#8 Glow in the Dark Balloons
Glow in the dark balloons are great for parties or just letting the kids play indoors. It is really easy to make balloons glow. All you have to do is insert a glow stick in the balloon as you blow up the balloon. You could also use glow in the dark paint to decorate any balloon that is already blown up and turn on the blacklight.
#9 Glow in the Dark Bowling
Here is an easy game that is also great for parties or just an evening with the lights out. You will need 1 or 2-liter bottles (20-ounce bottles work for the younger kids, too), water, and glow sticks. Add glow sticks to the water, close the lid tight and bowl away. You can also use tonic water, highlighter water, and adding dissolved vitamin tablets to the water, and turn on a black light. You could even use glow in the dark paint to decorate the bottles and even the "bowling" ball of your choice.
#10 Glow in the Dark Ring Toss
Using the same concept as in the glow in the dark bowling, use glow sticks necklaces, and bracelets as the rings in a game of ring toss.
These projects and activities are designed to be non-toxic, but it is advisable to read all labels to be sure you are using non-toxic materials. For example, not all glow sticks or glow in the dark paints are non-toxic. It is suggested that you only use non-toxic materials, especially if using these ideas with children. Regardless of the glow in the dark activity you choose, each of these ideas can release hours of fun. Although they are designed with children in mind, most of these are great for adults to use when spending a night out with friends.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan
Meagan Ireland from Maine on May 10, 2020:
The bubbles didnt work really ... was bummed about that but never tried glow in the dark paint!
Devika on May 10, 2020:
How do you make a black light without a highlighter
MJ on March 09, 2020:
Tonic Water ( Quinine ) = NOT SAFE for kids to ingest.
Glow Sticks solution = NON TOXIC !
Meagan Ireland from Maine on July 08, 2017:
Love these ideas! Especially bath time, cannot wait to try that with my little!