Array DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science | Montessori From The Heart

DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science

DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science Experiment

Kids Science experiment on how to make a homemade colorful DIY Lava Lamp without alka seltzer + Video Tutorial is included.

The DIY lava lamp kids science experiment is a great way to entertain your children while exploring chemistry. Not to mention how therapeutical it is to look at DIY Lava Lamp’s rising and falling bubbles. Besides, this is a cool STEM experiment to explore the concept of the density of liquids and hydrophobic properties of oil and carbon dioxide reactions. Most importantly, the setup is straightforward since you will use items readily available at home.


Here is what you need to make a homemade lava lamp:

  1. A clear glass, bottle, or cup,
  2. Water,
  3. Vegetable or mineral oil,
  4. Food coloring,
  5. An effervescent tablet or baking soda and vinegar.

How to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer?

To bring science to life, you need an effervescent tablet that has sodium bicarbonate in it, such as Alka-Seltzer or Efferdent (which is much cheaper). Please note that since Efferdent has whitening properties, it might chance the color.

What can I use instead of Alka Seltzer or Effervescent for a lava lamp?

You can conduct the lava lamp experiment without Alka-Seltzer or effervescent tablets by using baking soda and vinegar.

Video Tutorial

DIY Lava Lamp Instructions:

Below are the steps for creating your DIY Lava Lamp:

  1. Fill the glasses with about 1/4 of the tap water.
  2. Then, pour in the glass oil, filling it with about 2/4.
  3. Next, add 3 to 4 drops of food coloring.
  4. Lastly, break the tablet into pieces, and drop a few pieces into each glass.
  5. Watch as the bubbles swirl, rise, and fall like in a real lava lamp!

DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science Experiment

Can you make a lava lamp with vegetable oil?

You make a lava lamp with vegetable oil, mineral oil, or even baby oil. I prefer white mineral oil, which you can purchase inexpensively. Experiment with different types of oils and see how this affects your lava lamp.

How many drops of food coloring do you put in a lava lamp?

You need to put about 3 to 4 drops of food coloring in a lava lamp.

How to Make Secondary Colors

In the video tutorial, I mixed blue and yellow food coloring to make green. So, I combined two primary colors ending up with a secondary color.

Primary and Secondary Color Mixing PDF Freebie


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The Science Behind this DIY Lava Lamp Experiment

What happens when you add oil to the water?

First of all, oil and water are immiscible. Since oil is hydrophobic, it doesn’t mix with water. Oil is also less dense, which is why oil floats on top of the colored water. In scientific terms, the two liquids do not mix since the attraction force between the molecules of the identical liquid is greater than the attraction force between the two different liquids. Therefore, you end up with layers of fluid.

What Creates the Rising and Falling Lava Effect?

Alka-Seltzer tablet reacts with water to make carbon dioxide gas (CO2). These gas bubbles of CO2 rise up through the liquids, attaching themselves to colored water molecules, causing them to float upwards. So they end up pushing the water up into the oil, bringing the food color with it. However, when the bubbles of gas pop, the colored-water droplets sink back to the bottom because they have a higher density than the oil. Yet, as more gas released from the Alka-Seltzer tablet rises, it lifts back up those colored water molecules.

DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science Experiment
DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science Experiment
Have you tried DIY Lava Lamp Kids Science Experiment? Leave a comment if you did!

For More STEM Activities:

See here Home-Made Lava Lamp With Water Beads.
Home-Made Lava Lamp With Water Beads

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See here Rainbow Elephant Toothpaste STEM Kids Science Experiment.
Rainbow Elephant Toothpaste STEM Kids Science Experiment
Rainbow Elephant Toothpaste STEM Kids Science Experiment


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