a diy lava lamp science project for kids

Lava Lamp Science for Preschool

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It’s surprisingly easy to make a DIY lava lamp science experiment for kids. Just another great science project for toddlers and preschoolers that helps them learn STEM concepts.

DIY lava lamp science for preschool

Alka Seltzer science experiment

This simple lava lamp experiment is easy to set up and fun. I still enjoyed it and I’m 52! It explores density and chemical reactions as well as buoyancy. When the citric acid and the baking soda in the alka seltzer combine together in the liquid, it starts to fizz and make the oil and water move around each other like a real lava lamp.

It just takes a few common items that you might already have at home too. And there’s not much prep to it. So it can be a 5 minute daycare activity like these.

I have always loved science so doing experiments with my kids is one of my favorite parts of running a home daycare. We check out a lot of activities in our daycare, but science is the most fun.

a child pouring oil in a jar

Making lava lamps with kids

This lava lamp science is mesmerizing to kids of all ages. And simple activities that kids can help with teach the most because we learn more when our hands are on things. Hands-on equals brains-on.

What are they learning? Acids and bases, carbon dioxide gas, and endothermic reactions. You can add math concepts by timing the experiment and seeing how long the bubbles and lava flow last.

For more science ideas for kids, check these out:

Kids can experiment with adding more or less Alka-Seltzer to create different effects. They can also try adding glitter or small toys to the mixture to make their lava lamp even more interesting. Just make sure to supervise children closely during this activity, especially when handling the Alka-Seltzer tablets.

lava lamp science jar


  • Once the Alka Seltzer is finished, you can do the lava lamp science all over again. You can just drop in another tablet.
  • You will want at least some space on the top of your jar.

Lava lamp with alka seltzer

homemade lava lamp science experiment in a jar
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Lava Lamp Science Experiment for Kids

Easy, fun science experiment that teaches about chemical reactions and more.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Keyword: diy lava lamp, lava lamp, science for kids, science for preschoolers, science for toddlers, steam, stem
Author: Christina


  • Glass jar
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Alka Seltzer


  • Fill your glass jar half full of oil.
  • Mix a few drops of food coloring with around ¼ cup of water for a 16 oz jar.
  • Pour the mixture into the glass jar.
  • Wait a bit for the coloring to settle at the bottom.
  • Drop the Alka Seltzer into the glass jar and wait a few seconds.
  • Watch as bubbles form and bounce up and down in the jar like a lava lamp.

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