Even though I’m “really old” (according to my daughter) I’m still too young to have been around when lava lamps were all the rage (not counting their brief revival in the ’90s when all things from two decades prior was cool again for 5 minutes….Queen, anyone???).
But I saw this great post (courtesy of Pinterest, also known as where I hang out WAY too much!), and it showed how you could put together a fun science experiment that produced something very similar to a lava lamp, though much more brief in the time it actually releases the lava bubbles.
It looked really simple, and I actually had the supplies on hand (which is a miracle, because we all know I stink at anything related to crafts, projects, or general creativity). So we decided to give it a go. Now I’m going to show you how to do this in your home!
How to Make a Lava Lamp
1. Gather your ingredients. You need some type of oil (canola is what I had on hand…go for the cheapest oil you have), food coloring, water, a see-through bottle(the taller the better and with a lid so you can re-use it, and bonus if you can see the bottom clearly) and some alka-seltzer tablets.
2. Fill your container about 2/3 full of oil, and 1/3 full of water. Leave 1-2 inches up top so you don’t get any spillover during your experiment. This is also a great time to talk with your child about how different liquids still can have different weights and how oil and water don’t mix, but like to stay separated!
3. Now it is time to add about 10 drops of food coloring in the color of your choice. They will sit in between the oil and the water for a little while before fall to the bottom of the container. Very fun to watch!
4. Break one Alka-seltzer tablet into 4 pieces. 1/4 of a tablet is all you’ll need for about a minute of fun coming up. Drop the tablet in, and see what happens!
To give you a sense for how affordable this is, even though it doesn’t last long, Amazon is currently selling 72 tablets for $9.35. 72 x4 = 288 mini tablets to use. You will spend .03 per lava lamp “show” on the tablets. You do also have the oil cost and the very minimal food coloring cost, but those elements can be reused again and again! 🙂
This item is getting played with over and over again. It is cheap, it is fun and it is entertaining! And there’s a little bit a learning thrown into the mix, too. What’s not to love about this DIY version of a lava lamp?
Let me know if you give it a try! And if you know someone whose kids would love this, please share the post with them!
This post contains an affiliate link, just in case your kids don’t cause you to already have alka-seltzer on hand! 😉