Amazing lava lamp experiment!

Make cool colours with this clever science project

Amazing lava lamp experiment!
by Natalie Keeler

You remember lava lamps? The 90s decorative light filled with hypnotic oozing gloop. Well, did you know you can create a similar effect at home using fizzing tablets and baby oil? Read on to find out how.

We love this fun experiment. It's an easy, impressive way to teach your kids about chemical reactions and liquid density (without making loads of mess). Plus, all you need is a few simple kitchen ingredients.

Top tip: We all know (too well) that bottles of liquid can easily be tipped over, so make sure the space around you is clear from anything you don’t want to get damaged.

You will need

  • A large clear bottle with a lid
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Baby oil
  • 1 effervescent vitamin tablet

What to do

Step 1

Fill the empty bottle with water half-way, and add a few drops of food colouring.

Step 2

Pour in the baby oil, leaving space at the top so it doesn't overflow.

Step 3

Add the vitamin tablet and secure the lid onto the bottle. Then watch as the lava lamp effect takes shape!

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Learning guide

This is a simple and engaging way to teach your little one some more complex areas of science. Without even realising they’re learning, they’ll be exploring chemical reactions and liquid density as the oil and water separate. Explain that the liquids separate because the oil is heavier, and ask them to predict what they think will happen before you add the fizz. Get creative by adding a few other colours too!