Lava lamps are a simple but great fun science experiment for kids using materials you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. We’ve given these a Christmas twist by decorating them like a reindeer and a snowman. Crafts are not my strong point, so I’m sure you can do a much better job with your Christmas lava lamp.
We’ve also got a FREE Christmas Lava Lamp Printable you might find handy.
Christmas Lava Lamps
Don’t forget to check out our Christmas Science Ebook too which contains 12 printable Christmas themed experiments and activities, perfect for this time of year.
How to make a Christmas Lava Lamp
What you need
A clear plastic bottle or jar
A bottle of vegetable oil
Food colouring and decorations
Alka Seltzer or effervescent vitamin tablet
Christmas Lava Lamp Instructions
- Fill the bottle or jar a quarter full with water and add a few drops of food colouring.
- Fill up to (near) the top with the vegetable oil. The oil and water should separate into two layers. Water at the bottom with the oil sitting on top.
- Decorate your jar.
- Pop in half an alka seltzer tablet and watch the bubbles form. Add more alka seltzer little by little to keep the bubbles rising and falling.
Why do oil and water not mix?
See our original lava lamp post for a full explanation of why oil and water don’t mix.
Why does oil sit on top of water?
The reason that oil rests on top of the water rather than underneath is because it has a different density to water, water is denser and so sinks to the bottom.
Why do lava lamps bubble?
As the alka seltzer is added (this is made of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate) it reacts with the water to form carbon dioxide gas and sodium citrate. It is the carbon dioxide bubbles that carry the coloured water to the top.
More Christmas Science
Can you make a Santa themed lava lamp?