July 19, 2011

Make-your-own "Lava" Lamp

I'm embarrassed to even admit how much time I've spent on Pinterest this summer.  I always plan on just looking for a few cool ideas after the kids go to bed, but the next thing I know, it's 2 a.m. and my mind is spinning with all my new "pins" and the fun I'll have with them.  The downside is that the kids have to deal with a tired mommy the next day, but the upside is that I find cool ideas like THIS Lava Lamp.

As soon as I saw it, I knew it would make it onto our Summer must do list.  I suspected my kids would get a kick out of it and they did!


Here's how we did it:

1.  Gather your supplies ~ cooking oil, water, food coloring, an empty water bottle, and Alka Seltzer antacid tablets.

Oops, the Alka Seltzer tablets didn't make it in the picture.


2.  Fill your bottle about two thirds of the way with oil then fill the rest with water, leaving about an inch free at the top.

Partially filled with oil




It was fun adding the water and watching the layers separate.
** NOTE ** We liked watching the water layer "sink" to the bottom, but we had to wait awhile for the bubbles to disappear for the next step.  Adding the water first, then the food coloring and finally the oil, wasn't quite as fun, but it was a bit faster.

3.  Add several drops of food coloring.  (If you did the oil first, then the water, it'll take a little while for the drops of food coloring to "break through" and tint the water.)

Mommy adds the food coloring.
4.  Take an Alka Seltzer tablet and break it into 3 or 4 pieces.  Then drop a piece in and watch the magic. 

The kids are looking annoyed that I made them stop for a picture first!

5.  As soon as the tablet hits the layer of water, it will start to fizz and the colored water will erupt!




4.  The bubbles will stop as soon as the tablet dissipates, but it will start up again as soon as you add another tablet.  If the oil layer starts to become cloudy with tiny bubbles, just let it settle for awhile and then you can do some more.

My kids loved it so much they worked really hard to be good so they could "earn" more antacid tablets to do it over and over again.

113 comments:

  1. That's pretty cool :) It's amazing how much fun stuff mom's find or do late at night.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How fun!! Alkaselters just got added to my shopping list!

    Sharing on fb.

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  3. That is awesome! My daughter and I are definitely going to do this! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I came across your blog on Tip Junkie...What a cool idea...my kids will love it!

    I'm hosting a link party..."Fusion Fridays" {Open All Weekend!}
    http://janedeereblog.blogspot.com

    I would love it if you would come by on Friday and link up!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is pretty sweet, you ALWAYS have the funnest, ideas, we will have to try this out!

    Carlee
    www.ladybirdln.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. As always... a great idea!
    Thank you!
    Cecilia

    ReplyDelete
  7. My oldest did this at a science camp this summer and my kids sure got a kick out of it. What a great idea!

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  8. I love this Laura! Gotta go buy some antacid tablets!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This Rocks! I love seeing your kids annoyed because you made them stop for a pic! I get that a lot with Miss Sassy! I loved seeing this step by step. So cool! I pinned it to my board on Pinterest.

    -Kate
    MyOatmealKisses.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I gotta try this with Henry. We've attempted a water and oil bottle once without much success, but the addition of the tablet will make this much more fun! Thanks for sharing on It's Playtime!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Brilliant!! we are on our long school holidays now, so I'm going to be trying this one out !!
    twiggy

    ReplyDelete
  12. Coolest project EVER!!! We're so going to do this! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This looks like tons of fun! We may have to try it!

    Can I say it just cracked me up that your kids were working hard to earn antacid tablets?? Gotta love kids! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is so fun! I love it and totally want to do it (even though there are no kids to enjoy it, I'll love it)! : )

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fantastic - having to earn the tablets! This ones going on my list for the school holidays, that's if I have time as just discovered Pinterest myself this week:))

    ReplyDelete
  16. Stopping over from the Sun Scholars Linky and am a new follower. I love this activity and know my son would too! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very fun! I remember doing something like this when I was little. :) Thanks for sharing, my little guy would love this! Found you on TT&J, I'm you're newest follower. Would love for you to check out my blog http://domesticcharm.blogspot.com and follow back if you're interested!

    ReplyDelete
  18. oh, love it! thanks so much for sharing on Craft schooling Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi saw you on link party, what a neat idea! Now following you via google and fb, Karima x www.karimascrafts.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is a great to keep kids entertain for hours..
    I'll be honored for you to join our linking party every Wednesday at
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    ReplyDelete
  21. Love this idea. Pinned it to my Sensory Play board on pinterest.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/60798663689616222/

    ReplyDelete
  22. just did this with my kids and it was awesome! Thank you so much! I linked back to you. :)
    http://www.confettiandotherfun.com/2012/04/homemade-lava-lamps.html

    ReplyDelete
  23. Do you have to leave the lid off the bottle?

    ReplyDelete
  24. You don't have to leave the lid off. We did just because the bubbles start almost immediately and the kids didn't want to wait for me to screw the lid on first. However, if you're worried about it spilling, you can put the lid on. There will be some carbonation from the tablets, so if the lid is closed, expect a little release of the gases when you reopen the bottle (similar to opening a bottle of soda) but I don't think the pressure would build up too much unless you put in several tablets at once and keep the lid on. Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I work at an after school program and did this project with 13 lucky kids. They loved it! And so did their parents! Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is awesome!
    If you have a minute I would love for you to visit and link it up to my party. I hope to see you there!

    http://www.the36thavenue.com/2012/06/sticker-and-party-time-61.html

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've just had a great day with my seven-year-old grandson - his reaction to this was "WOW!" and when mum and sister came to collect him their reaction was the same! Great fun and we could screw the top back on and he it took it home to show dad too. Ten out of ten for this.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I didn't have antacid so I used clear vinegar instead of water and added baking soda with similar results.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Definitely doing this with my son :) Do you recommend new water and oil each time, or can you cap and store for awhile?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can definitely cap and store for awhile. We've kept them for months before. Plus, if it's tightly capped, it's fun to just tilt the bottle and watch the contents slosh around.

      Delete
  30. thank you now i know what to do

    ReplyDelete
  31. is it something that the kids can take home with them ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes definitely. Just wait for it to stop "erupting " then put the lid back on it. You can give them directions to use more alka seltzer tablets or it's fun just to move it back and forth and watch the waves of oil and water.

      Delete
  32. HI, I cant find alka seltzer anywhere. any ideas for a substitute? party is thurs and with out thinkng already told my 5 year old that we are making lava lamps....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no. I'm really not sure of another substitute. Have you checked the pharmacy department of your local store? If not, it's still pretty neat to just have the colored water and the oil. It doesn't erupt, but it's fun to shake, then watch the two separate again.

      Delete
    2. Just use salt! I did this with my middle school science class & we simply sprinkled salt on top. We did ours in a jar instead of a bottle, so the salt was easier to sprinkle on top. Once the salt hits the oil layer it will start to react & cause a similar effect.

      Delete
  33. Awesome does it last long?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bubbling effect just lasts for about a minute (depending on the size of the tablet you put in), but the actual liquid in the bottle can last for a really long time!

      Delete
  34. hi im 9 years old and i did the project with my sister it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS ONE OF THE BEST PROJECTS I'V DONE I MIGHT DO ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR PROJECTS ANOTHER TIME BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it! Isn't it fun? Let me know what other projects you try.

      Delete
  35. I just made this with my 8 year old son. It was much cooler than I expected. He really enjoyed it and wanted to share with the whole family.

    ReplyDelete
  36. can we use any antacid as a substitute of alka seltzer in this lava lamp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We tried this with regular antacids and it didn't work. We also tried salt, and it kind of worked but wasn't especially impressive.

      Delete
  37. Can you use plastic bottles or does it have to be glass?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can definitely use plastic, Janet. Our bottles were plastic and I'd recommend it in case the kids drop it or knock it over. Just try to find a bottle with smooth sides if you can, it makes it easier to see the bubbles inside. (Ours were VIOS water bottles)

      Delete
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  39. these were amazing! however, after a day, the clear water looked very cloudy. any suggestions?

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