Transform a few ingredients into a fun educational and learning opportunity for kids and create your very own DIY lava lamp!
Who doesn’t get excited for Lava Lamps? I’ll admit.. as a kid, I thought they were the coolest contraption to have in the bedroom. In fact, if you told anyone that you had a Lava Lamp in your bedroom, you were instantly “cool”…
Fast forward 30 years and my kids are just as convinced of the coolness factor as I am.
A few years ago, I took my kids to our local state university event that was geared to helping kids learn everything from science to technology, math and engineering. Basically – S.T.E.M.
DIY Lava Lamp Experiment
During one of the classes, my kids made these cool Lava Lamps … cool, right?
This demo can easily be transformed into a fun science experiment for kids of all ages. Looking for more experiments? We’ve got 7 budget friendly science experiments you can incorporate as well.
How does it work?
In this DIY, the oil stays above the water because the oil is lighter than the water (less dense). The oil and water don’t miss because of a concept we title “intermolecular polarity”. Water molecules are attracted to other water molecules. They get along great and bond to each other (kin of like magnets). Oil molecules are attracted to other oil molecules … but the structures of the water and oil molecules do not allow them the chance to get along to
By adding the tablet of Alka Seltzer, it sank and started to dissolve. A gas was created and the bubbles from the gas rose. .. taking the colored water with it. Once the blob reaches the top, it will then disappear. Pretty cool, right?
Bring the Lava Lamp back to life by tossing in another tablet.
Make this an experiment
This Lava Lamp demonstration can easily be transformed into a science experiment by introducing these questions:
- Does the size of the bottle affect the number of blobs that are produced?
- Does the water temperature affect the reaction?
- What happens when you put the cap on the bottle?
DIY Lava Lamp Experiment
- mason jar
- 1 drop food coloring
- 1.3 C vegetable oil
- 1 tablet Alka Seltzer
- 1/3 C distilled water
- Fill your mason jar 3/4 way with vegetable oil.
- Mix 1 cup of water with a drop of food coloring.
- Break 1 Alka Seltzer tablet in half and place in the jar.
- Pour the blue water into the mason jar, leaving a few inches on top so the jar doesn’t overflow.
- Watch the colored water act like a lava lamp!
You can replicate this experiment in a 2 liter plastic soda bottle .. simply fill the bottle 2/3 of the way with vegetable oil. Mix a cup of water with a drop of food coloring and pour the water in the container, leaving a few inches so the container doesn’t overflow.
Larger containers might require 2 drops of food coloring for an even better effect.