DIY Lava Lamp: Easy STEAM Activity for Kids

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Making a DIY lava lamp is an exciting and engaging activity that kids of all ages will love. This project is not only visually appealing, but it also provides an opportunity to learn about science and chemistry. By using simple materials, you can create a mesmerizing lava lamp that will keep your kids entertained for hours.

Not only is making a DIY lava lamp fun, but it’s also a great way to encourage your kids to explore their creativity and imagination. They’ll love experimenting with different colors and combinations to create unique lava lamps every time. Plus, the end result is a cool and unique decoration that can be displayed in their room or around the house.

Whether you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids on a rainy day or you want to inspire their curiosity and creativity, making a DIY lava lamp is a great way to spend quality time together while learning something new.



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  • Mason jar
  • Baby oil
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer tablets
  • Spoon

How To Make A DIY Lava Lamp at Home

Making a DIY lava lamp is a fun and easy science experiment for kids that will keep them entertained and engaged for hours. With just a few household materials, you can create a mesmerizing lava lamp that will fascinate your little ones.

Fill the mason jar with 1/4 of baby oil. Fill the rest of the jar with water, leaving about an inch of space at the top.

Add a few drops of food coloring to the jar. Choose your favorite color or mix different colors to create a cool effect.

Wait a few seconds for the food coloring to spread out and settle at the bottom of the jar.

Break up an Alka-Seltzer tablet into small pieces. It will help it last longer if you add small pieces at a time rather than the entire tablet. Be careful not to touch it, as it will start fizzing immediately.

Watch the lava lamp come to life as the seltzer tablet reacts with the water and creates bubbles that rise to the top.

Once the bubbles have stopped rising, add another seltzer tablet to keep the lava lamp going.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use warm water to speed up the reaction between the seltzer tablet and water.
  • You can adjust the amount of food coloring to make the colors more or less intense.
  • If you want to make a bigger lava lamp, simply use a larger jar and adjust the amount of baby oil, water, and food coloring accordingly.
  • Experiment with different colors and combinations to create a unique lava lamp every time.

Science Behind a DIY Lava Lamp

A DIY lava lamp is a fun experiment that involves making blobs of colorful liquid move up and down in a container. This happens because of something called density. Density is how much stuff is packed into a certain amount of space. Different liquids have different densities, which means some are heavier and sink to the bottom, while others are lighter and float to the top.

In a lava lamp, we use water and oil, which have different densities. We pour the oil into a container and add some food coloring to make it colorful. Then we pour in some water, but because water is denser than oil, it sinks to the bottom. But when we add a fizzy tablet, like an Alka-Seltzer, it starts to fizz and creates little bubbles of gas. These bubbles attach to the water and make it lighter, so it rises up through the oil.

As the water rises, it takes some of the food coloring with it, making colorful blobs that move up and down. When the bubbles reach the top and pop, the water becomes heavier again and sinks back down to the bottom. This cycle repeats over and over again, creating a mesmerizing and hypnotic effect.

Age Suitability

This activity is good for toddlers aged children 2 years old and up.

Mess Level

The mess level for this activity is low.

Difficulty to Create 


Skills Developed

Language development, shape recognition, color recognition, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.

Toddler and Preschooler Curriculums, Books & TV Show!

Play2Learn Toddler & Preschool Programs for Curious Toddlers

There is no limit to your toddler’s energy and curiosity. That energy and curiosity although a joy can be challenging at times. Their interest in just about everything around them is what makes them great learners. One and two year olds can soak up so much just from their senses!

But as a teacher or parent that thirst for learning can be exhausting. That is why I created this toddler and preschooler program. To help you get the most out of this time with your curious toddler without having to come up with creative ways to play and interact with them.

Play2Learn for Toddlers includes 20 Units for toddlers. Each 2-week toddler unit has 20 super easy to set up and engaging activities for toddlers 18 months to 3 years.

Play2Learn Preschool which includes 20 Units for preschoolers. Each 2-week preschoolers unit has 20 unique and easy to set up and engaging activities for preschoolers 3 years to 5 years. That’s over 800 learning activities for your toddler and preschooler at your fingertips! So many ideas you and your child will never be bored again! 

These toddler and preschool lesson plans and activities will definitely keep you and your toddler and preschooler busy playing and learning!

Click here for more information: Play2Learn

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Learning all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math sets kids up for scholastic success―and it can be so much fun! Watch kids enjoy building STEAM skills as they color friendly fish, help water find its way to tree roots, solve math problems with mazes, and more. 

Find out more and grab your copy here.

Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.

Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids

Riddle me this: What’s an exciting way to practice critical thinking while having a blast? The Big Riddle Book for Kids, of course! From hilarious puns to tough brain teasers, kids can build problem-solving skills with hundreds of riddles that show them how to think outside the box.

  • 350 riddles for kids—Have hours of fun with riddles, puns and jokes, and math and logic puzzles that’ll get their wheels turning!
  • Level up their skills—Riddles get trickier as kids progress through the book, challenging them as they get better at solving puzzles!
  • Double-check their work—Kids can check their answers in the back of the book with a handy answer key.

Help children expand their minds while having fun with this puzzle book for kids!

Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.

TV Show: Curious Crafting

I’m so excited to share my crafting TV show Curious Crafting which launched in July 2022 on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube! Season 2 airs in the summer of 2023! We were also nominated in 2023 for Best Live Action Preschool Series by the Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence.

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

In each episode we transform recycled items into magical crafts like a milk carton school bus, paper bag puppet or cotton pad turtle. The crafters learn and laugh their way through each activity while demonstrating what their young imaginations can create. 

Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up. 


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