Experiments with Dr Katy – Lava Lamps

Another day, another experiment. This is one we did a while back (excuse Katy’s face, she had chicken pox!) but it’s one we will definitely do again. It was so simple we did it a number of times using different coloured water and she just loved it every time!

As before, I have added a quick how-to guide at the bottom so feel free to skip to that!

We used a tall, slim glass for this experiment as I thought it would show the reaction best. It’s not imperative to use this type of container but it worked for us.

All we needed for this was two containers, water, oil (we used vegetable oil as we had it in but I’m sure most oils would work!), food colouring and Alka Seltzer.

Katy pretty much did this experiment on her own which was great for her confidence. She added food colouring to the water and mixed it well.

Next, she filled the empty container around halfway with oil then added the coloured water. At this point we had a discussion about how the two liquids didn’t mix. Although she was only 4 at the time, she found this fascinating!

She snapped the Alka Seltzer into 3/4 pieces then dropped a piece into the mixture. Then the reaction happened and we had a lava lamp!!

We didn’t really have any failures with this experiment as it was so simple to do. However, we did it 4 times with different colours and got the same reaction each time so we did discuss that briefly.

Simple and easy to do using things you probably already have in the house. More importantly, lots of fun!!

How-to guide


• 2 glasses/beakers

• Water

• Oil

• Food colouring

• Alka Seltzer (broken into 3/4 pieces)

1. Add water and food colouring to a glass/beaker. Mix well.

2. Pour oil into a glass/beaker

3. Add coloured water to the container with the oil in

4. Drop a piece of Alka Seltzer into the container

5. Enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Experiments with Dr Katy – Lava Lamps

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