Science For Kids: How To Make A Lava Lamp

Science For Kids: How To Make A Lava Lamp
Royal Institute

Learn how to make your own lava lamp with this fun and simple how-to guide, which makes for a fun home science project with children.

If you're looking to entertain the kids at home, why not take trip back to the Swinging Sixties? Groovy!

Back in the 'free love' era, the lava lamp came to represent the changing tastes and values of the younger generation - psychedelic, counter-cultural and with a passion for novelty.

By the 1970s, the lava lamp had faded from its position of cultural resonance and became a punchline - any 'aging hippy' character in film or TV was sure to have one somewhere in their home.

But although the lava lamp is not likely to be an edgy status symbol again any time soon, there is something hypnotic about watching one in action which is sure to fascinate kids of all ages.

Making a lava lamp is surprisingly simple - all you need is vegetable oil, red food dye and an alka seltzer tablet.

Watch the video below for the Royal Institution's guide to making a homemade lava lamp. Their experts also have advice for a great follow-up experiment involving fruits and a bowl of water (the part about citrus fruits might surprise parents, too!).

After introducing the principles of density and buoyancy through the lava lamp, parents can use this follow-up to further explain the concepts which influence how and why some objects float and others sink.