Make Waves in a Bottle Activity

3.6 based on 116 ratings
Updated on Mar 19, 2014

As kindergarteners begin to study the water cycle, those who live near an ocean may very well make a visit. But if your child's school is in an inland area, or if the ocean waters nearby seem a little too rough, here’s a delightful way to bring the ocean home…by making waves in a bottle! This project is a great way to build up those kindergarten observational skills and get your kid excited about science.

What You Need:

  •  Clean bottle with cap
  •  Canola oil
  •  Water
  •  Food coloring (blue is a good choice for literal-minded kinders)

What You Do:

  1. Start by helping your kindergarten scientist pour canola oil into your bottle until it’s about ⅔ full.
  2. Help your child pour in enough water to fill the rest of the bottle. Add a few drops of food coloring, cap the bottle securely, and put the bottle on its side.
  3. Now swish the bottle back and forth, side to side. Look at what’s happening—there's an ocean in the bottle!
  4. As an extra option, consider making a little "boat" from a cork that fits through the top opening of your bottle. Watch how the cork bobs on the waves, just like a surfer or sailor.

Did You Know?

On our planet, waves happen when our earth spins on its axis and water is pulled by gravity across the geological formations of the ocean floor. When you move the bottle, you’re seeing energy move through the water to make waves, just like out in the deep blue sea!

Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

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