Toddler Activity: Christmas Lava Lamp Experiment

Since I’m on a roll this week, here’s another quick and easy holiday project you can do with your child. Mila loved this activity, but I messed up with it. Oops!

We did this a few days ago, but it’s a DIY lava lamp. The white was supposed to look like a snowstorm and the red is just festive.

I’ll tell you the correct way to do it and how I messed up. Who doesn’t love learning from their mistakes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oil (you can use any kind, but I used vegetable)
  • Water
  • Alka Seltzer Tabs
  • Food coloring
  • Jars

I had everyone on hand, other than the Alka Seltzer tabs. You can find them about anywhere if you don’t have them.

The first part is where I messed up. You’re supposed to fill the jar up 2/3 of the way. I filled 2/3 of the jar with water. We make mistakes. Mine was just a big one for this experiment. It still worked though!

So, fill 2/3 of the jar with oil. Then combine your food coloring and water together to fill up the rest of the jar. Obviously, kids love to help, so they can definitely pour the oil and water into the jars.

Next, get your alka seltzer tabs out. Don’t let your child eat them! But, break them up in smaller pieces for them to put in the jar.

I personally did different sizes and let Mila put a full tab in there as well. I thought it was fun for her to see the difference in the reactions. You could even do this beforehand too.

Next, have them start putting pieces in.

In my one time experience, Mila thought this was cool. She wanted to put all of them in at once. I tried to tell her to do one at a time, but she’d sneak some when I wasn’t looking.

In the future, I’ll definitely do this experiment again… and do it the right way. It was fun to ask Mila what she was noticing. She immediately understood the tabs were making the bubbles. As she gets older, there will be more questions and observations I could ask her too.

As you can see, it is pretty cool! The red turned out way better than the white, but I think this is the oil/water issue that I had.

I hope you can do this fun experiment with your child this week. It’s always great to mix science in your routine at home.

Happy experimenting!

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