Create Your Own Magical Lava Lamp

With a few household items, anyone can create a beautiful lava lamp to wow their family. Spark your child's interest in science with this fun, colorful experiment.

What you’ll need:

  • One (1) 16 oz water or plastic pop bottle (label removed)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ½ Alka-Seltzer tablet
  • 1 ½ cups of oil (vegetable, canola, olive, etc.)
  • Ten (10) drops of food color, color of your choice
  • Glow stick, optional
  • Funnel, optional


  • Pour 1 ½ cups of oil into the 16 oz bottle
  • Next, pour ¾ cup of water into the 16 oz bottle, over the oil. This is a good opportunity to explain to your child how oil and water do not mix which is why they will see separation between the two.
  • Add 10 drops of food color in and have your child help you count! If the color sticks to the bottom of the oil layer, gently move the bottle back and forth until it drops down into the water layer.
  • If you are using a glow stick, this is the time to add it to your bottle. This is particularly neat if you’re indoors and in a dark room. We were outside during the day when we did our project, so we did not include it.
  • Last, drop in 1/2 Alka-Seltzer tablet and watch your lava lamp come to life! Make sure not to shake the bottle because it will stop working. Once your Alka-Seltzer tablet is done bubbling, feel free to add another to watch it all over again!

Inspired by Jenni Gretzema, Child Life Specialist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Check out other Science and Math Activities from Camp Little Victors:

Find additional science and math activities from Camp Little Victors.