DIY Lava Lamp

Lava lamp. I always wanted one. I dreamed of having a lava lamp filled with sea monkies that would majestically ride the undulating mass under-lit by a cool green glow. It made me ask questions, it made me watch, think, wonder, and hypothesize. I know lava lamps are still for sale, but this is a fun thing to make and it’s amazing how long it will hold a child’s attention.

Recycle a clear plastic bottle and fill half-way with water. Then fill the rest of the way with cooking oil. Add a drop or two of food colouring and watch what happens. Put the cap on tightly then tip it over and see how the two fluids interact. Because water is denser than oil, the oil will float on the water. Shake it, tip it, roll it, rock it back and forth.

We did this at a birthday party and each child selected their own food colouring colour and added some glitter. They played, and shared, and tried adding other objects to see what would happen (rocks, twigs, grass… whatever!) Eventually they’ll ask about other fluids, then you know you have a budding scientist on your hands!


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