Lava lamps are a simple but 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.
If you’re on the hunt for awesome science gifts, I’ve got some great DIY science kit ideas and ready-made science kit suggestions too.
I also have FREE a Christmas Lava Lamp printable instruction sheet you might find handy.
Christmas Lava Lamps
Don’t forget to check out my Christmas Science Ebook, 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
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 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 than oil 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 Ideas
Can you make a Santa themed lava lamp?
I also have some easy science ideas for the elf to bring and Santa STEM Challenges you might like!
New for 2022 is 24 days of elf ideas all with a fun science twist! You might also like my ULTIMATE list of Christmas science experiments which includes lots of free experiment instructions sheets and STEM gft ideas too!
Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by Emma Vanstone