A home-made water beads lava lamp is a fun kids science experiment for preschoolers and kindergarteners to learn about early chemistry, density and immiscibility.
Have you ever made a home-made water beads lava lamp? This kids science experiment is a great way to entertain your children while exploring chemistry. Unfortunately, this lava lamp does not last long, so enjoy it while it lasts! Besides, this is a cool experiment to explore the concept of density of liquids, the properties of carbon dioxide gas and its reaction with hydrogels. Most importantly, the set up should take you less than five minutes since you will be using items around the house.
What you will need to make home-made lava lamp:
- colored water (we are using blue food coloring to simulate the ocean)
- vegetable oil
- blue hydrogel beads
- Alka Seltzer (or any other fast dissolving tablet)
HOW TO conduct this kids science experiment:
So, what chemical reaction happens when water beads lava lamp is powered by Alka-Seltzer? First, you have to understand what happens to the two liquids when you add water to the oil? For instance, oil and water are immiscible, meaning that they will not mix together. The two liquids do not mix since the force of attraction between the molecules of the same liquid is greater than the force of attraction between the two different liquids. Therefore, you end up with beautiful dancing bubbles in a home-made lava lamp!
Now, what will happen when you add a fast dissolving tablet to our lava lamp?
Science mystery is revealed for this kids science experiment. Alka-Seltzer tablet reacts with water to make carbon dioxide gas. Thus, these bubbles attach themselves to water molecules (and hydrogels), causing them to float upwards. However, when the bubbles pop, the water droplets sink back to the bottom creating an “ocean volcano!”
So, during this Home-Made Water-beads Lava Lamp experiment, the oil and water do not mix, but rather the oil breaks up into small little drops. Because water is heavier and denser than the oil, oil floats on the surface. So, while the water is sinking to the bottom, the oil is rising to the top. As the oil is rising, it brings hydrogels along, creating this beautiful display of bubbles and gel-beads going up and down.
- Skills a child is developing: mathematics, observation, and visual skills
- Subject: early Chemistry
- Concept: density, immiscibility
Unfortunately, this home made kava lamp does not last long, unless you keep adding Alka Seltzer.
Adult supervision is required.
Moreover, see here a similar science experiment – Lava Lamp: Oil vs Water Density Immiscibility Experiment with Alka Seltzer. Also, for more water beads activities, see here Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study.
For more on the property of water, see here Pour it in! Liquid Illusion.
For more on science experiments:
- See here a video-post Float or Sink Tangerine Science Experiment. Also, see here Walnut Shell Sailboats.
- For baking soda experiments: see here Magic Balloon (Baking Soda and Vinegar Reaction), and here a video-post Erupting Volcano Science Experiment.
- Also check out here Primary Colors, Water & Paper Capillary Action Timelapse Kids Science Experiment.
- For more on color-mixing, please see here Father’s Da Balloon Color-mixing DIY Craft.