Homemade Lava Lamp Experiment

Science is so much fun! What’s great about these science experiments is that you can enjoy them in the classroom as well as at home with friends and family. You are able to do these experiments at home by looking around in the cupboard and finding materials that you can use to create a science experiment out of! This blog will be giving you fun and creative ideas to incorporate science activities for the whole family to enjoy!

                 By: Chelsea “Sunflower”


homemade lava lamp



Indoor Activity: Homemade Lava Lamps

Purpose: This experiment models what’s happening inside an active volcano. Children will use and learn the scientific method. Children will be using their cognitive, physical fine motor, collaborative, and linguistic skills. 


For ages: 5-12

Time: 5-10 minutes prep time, 10-15 minutes for experiment, 5-10 minute discussion with observations, 5-10 minute clean up.



-Food Coloring

-Vegetable Oil


-clear container (plastic bottle or jar with lids)

-Alka-seltzer Tablets

lava lamp supplies


Safety: Make sure that the child does not eat anything from the experiment. Although all of the materials are edible, they may not taste good together. Also make sure the child does not touch their eyes or face after touching the materials, to avoid irritation.




  1. Make sure you have a clean clear container for the experiment
  2. Fill the container half way with water
  3. Then slowly fill the rest of the container with vegetable oil, you may need to wait a few seconds while the oil and water separates, and then fill the container completely with oil.
  4. Add in 5 drops of food coloring, have the child choose what color they want and they add it in themselves.
  5. Give each child ½-1 Alka-Seltzer tablet.
  6. Have the child make a prediction about what will happen when you add the Alka-Seltzer tablet into the water and oil solution.
  7. Once you give them the okay, the child can put the tablet into the solution.
  8. Make sure the kids cover the container tightly so that the mixture doesn’t spill.
  9. Have them watch and observe what happens.
  10. Hold a discussion on what they observed once the reaction is over. (It should be active for approximately10 minutes)
  11. Discuss why the experiment models a lava lamp.
  12. Talk about what happens inside a volcano (hot liquid is boiling in a volcano. The liquid rises and sinks in a circular motion. This happens before the volcano erupts.)
  13. You can add up to two Alka-Seltzer tablets before the solution won’t react.
  14. Have the child help clean up and have them wash their hands.
  15. At the very end, recall what the child learned from the experiment. Make sure to ask them the why, and how things worked.


Reasoning/Discussion: When you add water and oil together, we know that they don’t mix. It’s kind of like when you put to magnets together on their opposite sides; they don’t want to cling together. The water and oil doesn’t want to mix, they want to stay separated. The Alka-Seltzer tablet releases a gas into the solution which creates the bubble like motion of the lava, as if you were blowing bubbles underwater with a straw. Just like in a volcano where gases are released inside and liquid gets pushed up and down inside the volcano and bubbles.