Homemade Lava Lamp Science Experiment

One great thing about this Homemade Lava Lamp science experiment is that you only need few supplies and you already have most of them in your home.

My son has done this experiment several times and every time enjoys it.

Supplies Needed

  • A clear container / Empty Water bottle (preferably with a lid but can be done without one)
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Food Color
  • Baking soda
  • Citric acid

Procedure for Homemade Lava Lamp Science Experiment

1) Fill the 2/3 rd empty water bottle with vegetable oil.

fill oil in a bottle

2) Fill the rest with water, leaving a little space at the top.

water and oil

Here you can make your child notice that the water sinks below the vegetable oil.  Oil and water just do not mix.  To an older child you can further explain that oil floats on the surface because the water is heavier (has a higher density) than oil.

3) Add few drops of food colour in the bottle. Do not stir it .

add food colour

Here you can make your child understand that the food colour is water-based, so it will also sink and colour the water. The food colour will only mix with the water, not the oil.

4) Now for the magic…Mix 1/2  spoon of baking soda with 1 spoon of citric acid and then pour the mixture slowly into the bottle. I had used a very small bottle. If you are using a big bottle you can increase the quantity accordingly.

lava lamp science experiment

5) Watch your lava lamp erupt into activity! As the reaction slows down, you can further add baking soda and citric acid mix.

Here you can explain your child that when you drop mixture of baking soda and citric acid, it sinks to the bottom and starts dissolving.  As it dissolves, it forms carbon dioxide which rises to the top and takes a little of the colour water with it.  The gas bubble breaks on the surface and the colour water sinks back to the bottom.

home made lave lamp science experiment

If you used a lidded container, make sure to leave the lid off while the reaction is taking place. Once all of the baking soda and citric acid is dissolved, you can close the lid and keep your lava lamp to reactivate later by adding more baking soda and citric acid.

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

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