Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Lava Lamps = Chemistry

Family Fun Magazine‘s DIY lava lamp project was exactly what we needed to do this afternoon. All you need is a couple of water bottles (I would imagine Mason jars would work, too), a couple of Alka-Seltzer (or generic effervescent tablets), vegetable oil, water and food coloring. Most of that even is adaptable; I only had a little bit of vegetable oil, so I used coconut oil for most of the oil. I think it’s thinner than vegetable oil, but it works just as well.

Add the oil to the bottles, then an inch or so of water and add the food coloring. Then break the tablets into fourths (math!!) and drop one in and watch the magic happen. When the bubble slow, add another piece of the tablet.

And the best part is that even after the effects of the antacid tablets wear off, the lava effect still works. Well, I guess it’s more of a wave effect, but still really cool. The boys have been rolling them, shaking them, mixing them up and letting them settle and watching the oil and water separate over and over again.

Anything that garners these types of expressions is so worth the time it takes to do the project, which honestly wasn’t much to begin with. And with big kids, there was zero mess. That’s always a plus in my book!

Warmly,

~h

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3 responses

  1. Amy

    Nice ! You’re right – anything that can get that kind of smile is definitely worth doing. I am sure my boys would enjoy this as well. Thanks for the great idea!

    August 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm

  2. Luzmila

    Just wondering how long do these last

    March 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    • Hi Luzmila 🙂
      The reaction lasts only for a few minutes, then you need to add another bit of the alka-seltzer. For the bottles, themselves,
      we kept ours for a few months. Over time, the bottles got crinkly and bent from being moved around and handled and we eventually threw them away. I would imagine that if you used a sturdier plastic or glass bottle, and kept it put up, the oil and water would keep separate and be ready for use whenever the mood strikes though.
      Hope this helps, and thanks for commenting!
      Warmly,
      ~h

      March 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

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