Bloomsbury Early Years


3-5 years

Characteristics of Effective Learning:

Being willing to ‘have a go’

Type of Content:


Related Activities

Firework t-shirts

Watch the colours spread as children create their own clothing

by Alistair Bryce-Clegg


This activity is an opportunity for the children to explore their creativity, engage in some colour mixing and see an example of cause, change and effect. Children will love wearing something they have made, too.

What you need

  • White t-shirt

  • Paper

  • Permanent markers in lots of colours

  • Surgical spirit

  • Iron or tumble dryer

What you do

  1. Put some paper inside the t-shirt to separate the front from the back.

  2. Use the markers to make different sized dots all over the t-shirt.

  3. Drip surgical spirit (adult only) onto the marker dots and watch the colours spread like fireworks.

  4. Repeat until the children are happy with the effect.

  5. Once dry, either iron with a hot iron or tumble-dry to seal the colour (adult only).

  6. The t-shirts are ready to be worn!

What you say

  • What colours do you want to use?

  • What pattern do you want to make?

  • Can you see the colours spreading?

  • What happens when the colours spread into each other? Do they make new colours?

Helpful hints

  • Always complete a risk assessment before carrying out this activity.

  • Handle the surgical spirit carefully and don't allow the children to use it themselves.

  • Ensure children keep their hands away from the hot iron.

Ready for more?

  • Experiment with different sized dots and varied amounts of surgical spirit to create different effects.

Where to go next: Paint Blowing
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