Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Easy Homemade Faux Lava Lamps for Kids

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Easy Homemade Faux Lava Lamps for Kids

The Lil Divas just can't get enough of all of our Mad Science Fun!
Everyday the beg me to do another experiment - it's wonderful.

To cap off our Mad Science Week we made
Faux Lava Lamps

Simple to make & so fun to watch!

What You Need:
clear bottle(s)
food color
alka seltzer
(or silimar effervescent tablet)

What To Do:
1. Pour oil into your bottle -
filling it about 2/3 of the way

2. Pour water into your bottle -
a little less than 1/3 to leave some room at the top

3. Add food color of choice
the Lil Divas were "generous" with their coloring

4. Observe what happened to the food color

5. Cut 1 Alka Seltzer (or similar) tablet into 8 pieces
(you can use a larger piece if you have a big bottle)
This gave us a nice reaction and afforded us lots of pieces to add in & observe.

6. Add 1 piece of the tablet at a time & observe the reaction.

This was after a few pieces of the tablet -

The Oldest Diva put about 2 tablets in hers
while I was helping her little sister cut her tablet!

She had lots of color bubbles & movement.

A very cool reaction of the color floating through the oil in bubbles.
The Lil Divas were mesmerized.

Note: Once you close the bottle the color drops back down to the bottom.
Add some more tablets and you get your faux lava lamp effect again!

The Science Behind It: 
Water & oil do not mix (you know that!) so when we add the water to the oil, it sinks to the bottom of the bottle. The food coloring mixes with the water but does not mix with the oil. The Alka-Seltzer tablet reacts with the water, making bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. Those bubbles attach themselves to the colored water making them float - hence the lava lamp effect. 


If you enjoyed these activities as much as we did be sure to stop by on Sundays for a new feature - Science Sunday!

I will be bringing you more science ideas, experiments & demonstrations.



  1. Ooooh SO cool! I've seen these online before and they looked awesome!

    1. you must try it - so easy & kids LOVE seeing the effect!

    2. love the idea and i like the bouncy ball one two would you do this again with different things to try

  2. We just did this too Bern! The kids loved it!

    1. isn't it so easy & cool?! Though I think Alka Seltzer needs to be added to my shopping list - the girls can't get enough, haha!

  3. Replies
    1. it look cool it look like a real lava lamp

  4. Oh my goodness! This is such an awesome idea! I love it!

  5. Really neat! My girls would love this!

  6. I love the two tablet version! So fun!!!

  7. This is a great and fun experiment! I can't wait to share with my students! Also, I'm a new follower and I love your blog! :)

    1. welcome & thank you! Your students will love it - my girls kept wanting to repeat this over & over again.

  8. Oh WOW oh WOW oh WOW!!! That is SO incredibly cool! I'd sure love you to share this for Fun Stuff Fridays!

  9. I've been keeping this on my to do list sometime. I have such a long list of things to add to my to-do list.

  10. I'm going to have to do these with my girls. They would love it. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

  11. We did it this summer and it was so much fun! We still have the bottle that I keep in my closet. The fun this thing is that you can reuse them! Moreover, it is so beautiful in the sunlight!

    I love the red one you made! So beautiful!!!!! I bet they're still playing with it :)

  12. Love this! We are out of baking soda so until the next shopping trip this can tide us over!

  13. Oh you just can't beat a lava lamp! We have made these as well and the kids love them. So effective!

    Thank you for linking up to Family Frolics! Please come back this week with another post. :)

    Just to you link up to Fun Sparks on Science Sparks blog? It is the other blog I co write and is science based. Your posts would be a fab link up. It happens on a Thursday!

  14. I have to remember to get some Alka-Seltzer, so I can do it this weekend. I am sure it will be super popular!

  15. SO using double alka seltzer tabs when we do this - love the dramatic effect!

    Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

  16. We have just done this with the Pre-K class at our preschool. They loved it!!! So much fun and looking forward to sending the supplies home so the parents can do this with them, too. Thanks!!

  17. What a great idea! I will be making one to add to our peace table! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  18. Were having chemistry week with my first grader to be on top of reading. This is fun to break up our subject :-). We did the color explosion today and he got quite the kick out of it. Thanks for your blog.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and for your lovely comment. What a fun themed learning week you have planned! What else do you have in store for him this week?

  19. I did this with my daycare kids and they loved it!!!

  20. oh my gosh my son loved it. it also came all over the bench, epic!!!

  21. I like this idea so much but what is alka tablet

  22. I did this experiment today in my daughter´s kindergarden classroom and the kids totally loved it!! They were so excited watching the colored bubbles! Thank you so much for the idea!


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