Super Cool Lava Lamp | Polarity and Non-polarity | Physics

Have you ever seen a lava lamp?

This lava lamp experiment is super cool! Your kids will love exploring colored water and oil, but a surprise ingredient will make this science activity even more exciting! It’s always a hit with the kids. So grab a few household supplies and give this lava lamp science activity a try!

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Lava Lamp Experiment


As part of our science lessons this school year, we are trying out all kinds of really neat science experiments and activities. This lava lamp experiment tops the list!

Both of my kids had a blast with this. We’ve actually done it several times and with all different colors, but it never ceases to amaze them. It’s almost shocking how long they will engage with it.

One great thing about this science experiment is that you only need a few supplies and your probably already have most of them in your home or classroom.

Materials Needed:

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To begin, color about 1/2 cup of water with food coloring. I like using these gel food colors for vibrant coloring.

Take the Alka Seltzer tablets and break them into 2 or 3 pieces. Place them in a small cup or container.


Fill a glass about 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Then pour in the colored water until the liquid in the cup is about 1-2 inches from the top.

You don’t want it to overflow! Well, unless you want to turn it into an eruption experiment too. For this reason and quick cleanup, I like to do this on a tray.

Let the children take turns adding a piece of an Alka Seltzer table to the cup. *DO NOT let them put the tablet in their mouth at any time.


Due to having a polarity in water molecule, we will see such amazing effect.


The water and oil do not mix and the oil doesn’t change color because the food coloring is water soluble. The Alka Seltzer reacts with the water to make bubbles of carbon dioxide. The bubbles attach themselves to the blobs of colored water and bring them to the top of the glass. When the bubbles pop the blobs of colored water fall back to the bottom of the glass.

This lava science experiment is sure to WOW your kids. They may even ask you to do it over and over again like mine did!

Further investigation:

Feel free to repeat this experiment with other liquids! Just make sure that you keep all of the other conditions of the experiment the same.


Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.

Additional information

Materials Needed

# 3 12-inch long metal rods or thick wire: copper, steel, brass, or other metal.
# 8 identical Styrofoam cups
# Something to boil water in (a pot or kettle)
# Stove
# 4 instant digital thermometers
# Pitcher or other large container that will fit in the refrigerator
# Water
# Notebook and pen


Agricultural Science, Medical Science, Other Topic


Biology, Chemistry, Other Subject


Science, Simulation


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