Lava Lamp Experiment


This science experiment is quick, easy and fun!

Materials Required

  1. Vegetable Oil
  2. Water
  3. Food colouring – primary colours or neon
  4. Original Alka Seltzer tablets
  5. Empty plastic bottle or jar (clear)
  6. Tray

Method (or Ideas)

  1. To begin, colour about 1/2 cup of water with food colouring.
  2. Take the Alka Seltzer tablets and break them into 2 or 3 pieces. Place them in a small cup or container.
  3. Fill the bottle/jar/glass about 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Then pour in the coloured 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, do this on a tray.
  4. 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.
  5. Watch the reaction and talk about it

Facilitation Tips – What To Say

  • 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 coloured water and bring them to the top of the glass.
  • When the bubbles pop the blobs of coloured water fall back to the bottom of the glass.

Extend the Experience

WHO Guidelines for Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour

This is a sedentary activity, however completing the experiment while standing up increases physical activity and is a healthier option to sitting down.

Early Years Learning Framework


  1. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
  2. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials
  3. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating


Principle 3: High expectations and equity. Children progress well when they, their parents and educators hold high expectations for their achievement in learning.


Practice: Intentional teaching. Intentional teaching is deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful. They use strategies such as modelling and demonstrating, open questioning, speculating, explaining, engaging in shared thinking and problem solving to extend children’s thinking and learning.

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