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Simple Science Activity: Lava Lamps

G2 made a lava lamp at school and got to bring it home…


He had so much fun with it that he wanted to play with it at home again…

Make Your Own Lava Lamp

This is really a very easy experiment to do at home. All you need is:


  • Pour a bit of water into the bottle.
  • Add your food dye and mix it well.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with oil.
  • Once the oil and water separate, add a piece of effervescent tablet and watch it go.

You can continue to repeat this experiment as many times as you like. Once you’re done, just cap the bottle until you want to use it again.

The Explanation

Water is denser than oil so it stays on the bottom while the oil floats above it forming two separate layers. If you like big words, the reason why this happens is because of “intermolecular polarity”. It just means that water is attracted to water and oil is attracted to oil but the two don’t like each other so they separate.

When you add the effervescent tablet, it sinks to the bottom and interacts with the water to form a gas that carries some of the water to the surface in the form of bubbles. Once the gas is released, the water bubbles sink back to the bottom of the bottle.

The reason Alka-Seltzer fizzes in such a way is because it contains citric acid and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), the two react with water to form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide gas (those are the bubbles that carry the colored water to the top of the bottle).” – Science Kids



Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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