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How to Make a Lava Lamp

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Kids will be amazed at this really fun and easy to make science experiment for kids. Let us show you how to make a lava lamp that is fun for kids of all ages.
DIY Lava Lamp - super easy way to make your own lava lamp with simple things you have around your house. This homemade lava lamp is such a fun science project for kids of all ages to sneak in some summer learning. This science experiment is for toddlers, preschoolers, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and kids of all ages at home, homeschool, summer camps, classroom, etc.

How to Make a Lava Lamp

I am always eager to find creative, new, and  fun things for kids. As part of our summer bucket list we decided to make a lava lamp. It was a really fun science experiment, project, and summer activity for kids all rolled into one. We had so much fun with this kids activity I wanted to share the simple process to make your own lava lamp.  So whether you are a parent, teacher, grandparent, planning for Vacation Bible School, working on a science Summer camp, daycare, or planning a science birthday party – you will love this fun activity for kids of all ages from toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th garde, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, and more!

for this easy science experiment you need oil, clear bottle, food coloring, and alka seltzer tablets

DIY Lava Lamp

To make this easy science experiment you will need the following supplies:

  • Empty bottle – clear pastic bottle like a water bottle, soda bottle, etc.
  • oil – any kind will work. I suggest getting oil that is as clear as possible for it not to affect the coloring. Being stuck at home we used darker yellow oil when we recentrly redid one of our favorite science experiments
  • food coloring – any color you like such as blue, yellow, red, green, etc.
  • Funnel to minimize the less
  •  Alka Seltzer Antacid Tablet (you will need 1 tablet per bottle you make)

pour water and oil into recycled plastic container using a funnel

Start out by pouring water about 1/3 of the distance up your recycled plastic container using a funnel to avoid mess. Now add cooking oil (vegetable oil, walnut oil, canola oil, etc.) the rest of the way to go just 2″ from filling your container.

I love crafts, science projects, and activities that reuse items we have laying around the house! For this project, you probably have everything you need to make it laying around your house!

use this oil and water experient to explain to kids why these 2 substances don't mix

Oil and Water Experiment

Children will be fascinated by how the oil & water didn’t mix! They can shake up the jar and watch as the two substances will go back to oil at the top and water at the bottom. You can give them this simple explanation on why oil and water don’t mix:

Oil molecules are only attracted to other oil molecules and water molecules are attracted to water molecules. So they don’t mix together. The reason the oil floats on top is because the oil is less dense than water.

put in 4-5 drops of food coloring into the oil and water bottles

Add 4-5 drops food coloring. It really doesn’t matter how much food coloring you use – you can add as much as you want to get the desired color at the bottom of the jar.

HINT: You can even have children explore mixing colors. Have kids add yellow and red drops to make, orange, blue and yellow to make green, blue and red to make purple, etc.

Watch how the red food coloring goes straight through the oil with out mixing. Use this step to work on color mixing with kids

Notice how the food coloring falls through the oil in balls without mixing at all. Once it gets to the water section it will mix.

fun science project to make with toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade students

Start at the beginning to prepare any other bottles so your other children can enjoy this fun science projects too! We opted to try different colors so we neded up with a homemade lava lamp for all the primary colors – red, blue, and yellow.

drop 1 alka seltzer antacid tablet into your science project

Easy Science Experiments

Next add 1 tablet Alka Seltzer Antacid Tab, broke up into several pieces, into the jar.

step by step directions for making your own DIY Lava Lamp

It will start to bubble and and create a lava lamp. You will be amazed as the chemical reaction of the water and antacid tab bubbles and shoots the bubbles of colored water up through the oil.

The DIY Lava Lamp with be in constant motion as bubbles keep moving up and down through the oil, but notice how the colored water and oil don’t mix! Kid will be amazed and impressed by this science experiment!

after you've followed direction on How to Make a Lava Lamp, try shaking the bottle to see what happens to the water molecules

You can cause your colored water molecules (think size of balls) to be bigger or smaller molecules by shaking the bottle to break apart the molecules. You can also impact the size of the colored bubbles by trying to putting a smaller portion of the antacid tab in at a time.

this science experiment for kids is great for summer learning, a rainy days, or kids activity any time

Lava Lamp for Kids

This easy-to-make kids lava lamp is sure to be a project kids remember for year to come!

When the antacid tablet is no longer causing the lava lamp effect you can repeat the process.  If your child shakes the jar violently and the oil, water, and food coloring appear to have made one big colored mess – don’t throw it out. Give it a couple hours and you will see the oil & colored water separate again. Then go ahead and repeat the science experiment again.

scientific method

Scientific Method at Work

Minnie wanted to make a multi colored lava lamp. Instead of explaining why it wouldn’t work (the colors would all mix together in the water to make black) I decided to just let her test her hypothesis. We added several different colored drops and tested it out. While her hypothesis was incorrect, the lava lamp effect was just as cool in black.

fun activities for kids where they will learn about chemical reactions, color mixing, and density of oil and water while having fun

Fun Activities for Kids

This is a MUST try kids activity for sure! I love when kids can learn while having FUN! This activity will help kids learn about chemical reactions, color mixing, and density of oil and water all while doing a (sh, don’t tell them) educational activity for preschoolers, toddlers, kindergartners, first graders, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6. For older children use this as a springboard into one of those topics and dive deeper reading some scientific texts to supplement your project.

Why do Leaves Change Color in the Fall Answers Find out with this simple, fun, and informative Science Experiment for kids in preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade and older too. Perfect fall activities for kids. (homeschool, science) AWESOME EXPERIMENT! MUST TRY!!! clever paint stick solar system project air-presssure-science-projects-for-kids

Science for Kids

Looking for lots more fun, science experiments for kids? You’ve GOT to try some of these outrageously fun science experiments for kids! We have so many fun, creative and easy science experiments for elementary age children:

This amazing color changing slime is going to blow your mind! This heat sensitive slime will actually change color as your kids touch it because it is heat sensitive! This is a super cool project for kids you MUST TRY! Must try summer activity for kids to add to their summer bucket list  Help kids learn about what is under their skin with this fun, interactive, and hands on human body project for kids from toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students. This can be a simple life size human body project or use our free printable templates to add bones of the body, organ templates, and more. This engaging science project is EASY and LOW PREP too.  dying flowers science experiment

Fun summer activity for bucket list  Mason jar lid flower suncatcher

Summer Bucket List Ideas

Perhaps you are looking to fill up your activity calendars with fun summer activities for kids. (Or try our Ice Cream Summer Bucket List) Don’t miss these other must-try kids summer kids activities:

How to make a lava lamp - this is such a fun, easy to make science experiment for kids of all ages. This is great for a summer bucket list #scienceproject #summerlearning #kidsactivities

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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