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.
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!
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Easy Science Experiments
Next add 1 tablet Alka Seltzer Antacid Tab, broke up into several pieces, into the jar.
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!
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.
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 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
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.
Science Projects for Kids
Looking for more fun, creative science experiments to help kids explore the world around them? You will love these science ideas for students of all ages:
- Exploding Watermelon Science Projects – exploring potential and kinetic energy
- Human Body Project for Kids – learn about organs, muscles, bones, and more
- Paint Stick Solar System Project for learning the planets in our solar system
- Amazing Dying Flowers Science Experiment
- Learn about Air with these 4 air pressure science experiments
- Why do leaves change Color?
- Colorful Candy Science
- EPIC Look inside a Volcano Project
- Colorful Polymer Chemistry Experiment
- Capillar Action Science Experiment for Kids (aka Walking Water)
- Using water balloons to explore density science experiment
- Oil and Water Experiment that will AMAZE
- 100 AMAZING Food Experiments for Kids
Summer Bucket List Ideas
- Amazing Bubble Painting Project
- Silly Grass Craft for Kids
- Giant Bubble Solution
- Edible Ice Cream Playdough Recipe
- AMAZING Tin Foil Art
- Easy Ice Cream in a Bag
- Blowing Colorful Clouds (Summer Activity for Kids)
- Handprint Strawberry Craft
- Color by Number Summer
- Squirt Gun Painting
- 30 Super Fun June Crafts for Kids
- Mason Jar Flower Craft for Kids
- June Stories for Kids and free printable activity calendar