Homemade Lava Lamp Activity

3.9 based on 230 ratings
Updated on Mar 30, 2016

Looking for some retro decorations? Make your own homemade lava lamp with this fun science project. Your child will learn about water and oil and their different densities with this hands-on project.

What You Need:

  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Clean plastic bottle with cap
  • Effervescent tablet
  • Flashlight (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Pour oil into the empty bottle so that it fills it up 75% of the way. Pour water to fill up the rest of the bottle. 
  2. Put 10 food coloring drops in the mix.
  3. Separate the tablet into 8 parts, and put just one piece into the bottle. The liquids should bubble!
  4. When the bubbles have settled down, put in a tablet piece again. Keep doing this until there are no more tablet pieces left and there are no more bubbles.
  5. Put the cap onto the bottle, and gently move the bottle back and forth. "Lava" forms!

How does it work? The little liquid bits come together to form one bigger droplet! The oil and water separate because oil has a bigger density than water. For added excitement, shine a light below the bottle to see some awesome colors!

Mike is a 20-year veteran science teacher, and runs an online business (www.scienceinabag.com). Over the years Mike has studied trends in science, education, and finance, conducting research, developing programs, and writing articles on these topics.

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