Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Make Your Own Lava Lamp

It’s been awfully rainy today so we’re having some fun inside. I was digging through the pantry and decided to pull out the old “make your own lava lamp” ingredients. It’s simple, entertaining and you probably already have all the materials!


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Oil (Any kind will do. I used vegetable – it was the most inexpensive)


Food coloring

Cylindrical Jar w/ lid (I used a mason jar – an empty water bottle also works great!)


**This might get messy! You may want to do this experiment on a tray or baking sheet.


1. Fill your jar with water about ¼ of the way full

2. Add several drops of food coloring (we used about  6 drops)

3. Fill the remainder of the jar with oil, leaving about an inch of space at the top

4. Allow the mixture to settle

5. Break the Alka-seltzer up into several small pieces

6. Add one and watch what happens!

7. We had fun experimenting with different size pieces :)

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Other variables we had fun with:

Glow stick:

lava lamp 6

** Tried cutting the glow stick and adding the liquid inside to the water… didn’t do too much.

**  We put an activated glow stick in the jar to add some extra light. It worked well but was… “meh”



Light Table:

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** Putting the jars on top of a light table really helps to illuminate the liquid and gives it a really cool effect. If you don’t have a light table, try shining a flashlight through the bottom of the jar.



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** We tried all different size pieces of Alka-seltzer (of course, we had to put an entire tablet in to try it out… WOAH)





What We Learned About:

* Everything is made up of little tiny things we calls molecules. They’re so small, we can’t even see them! The molecules of water and oil don’t like to mix.


* The Alka-Seltzer only reacts with the water. That reaction releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles that carry drops of the colored water to the surface. When the gas bubble pops, the water falls back down.


* Water is heavier (denser) than oil, that’s why oil floats on the top.


* What’s an oil spill? How does it affect the ocean?



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