A homemade Valentine’s Day lava lamp is the perfect science project for kids, and you can easily add fun themes for the seasons or holidays. This Valentines Day theme DIY lava lamp idea is an excellent addition to your lesson plans or simple after-school science activity. Explore liquid density, states of matter, molecules, and fizzy chemical reactions.
HOMEMADE VALENTINES DAY LAVA LAMP EXPERIMENT
DIY LAVA LAMP FOR KIDS
A DIY lava lamp is one of our favorite science activities! We came up with a very fun and fizzy theme this month, a homemade Valentine’s Day lava lamp experiment! You can grab basic supplies from the kitchen cabinet and create fantastic, simple science activities the kids love!
This Valentines heart theme lava lamp is just that! Simple, fun, and engaging for young kids and great for early childhood development. Who doesn’t like to mix up new things? You and your kids can easily enjoy simple chemistry for Valentine’s Day!
CLICK HERE FOR A FREE PRINTABLE VALENTINE STEM CALENDAR & JOURNAL PAGES!
HOMEMADE LAVA LAMP SUPPLIES
The kitchen is full of simple science with simple, budget-friendly ingredients. You might want to see this Valentine’s Baking Soda and Vinegar experiment while mixing up new substances in the kitchen.
- Cooking Oil (or Baby Oil)
- Food Coloring
- Alka Seltzer Type Tablets (generic brand is fine)
- Glitter and Confetti (optional)
- Jars, Vases, or Water Bottles
HOMEMADE LAVA LAMP SET UP
Fill your jar(s) about 2/3 of the way will oil. You can experiment with more and less and see which one gives the best results. Make sure to keep track of your results. This is a great way to turn a science activity into an experiment.
How else can you change up the activity? What if you didn’t add oil at all? What if you change the temperature of the water? Is there a difference between baby oil and cooking oil?
SET UP YOUR VALENTINES DAY LAVA LAMP
Next, you want to fill your jar(s) the rest of the way with water. These steps are great for helping your kids hone their fine motor skills and learn about approximate measurements. We eyeballed our liquids, but you can actually measure out your liquids.
Make sure to observe the oil and water in your jars. Have you ever made a DENSITY TOWER?
Add drops of food coloring to your oil and water and watch what happens.
You can also sprinkle in glitter and confetti.
However, you don’t want to mix the colors into the liquids. It’s ok if you do, but I love how the chemical reaction looks if you don’t mix them!
EASY VALENTINES DAY CHEMISTRY
Now it’s time for the grand finale of your homemade lava lamp activity! It’s time to drop in a tablet of Alka Seltzer or its generic equivalent. Make sure to watch closely as the magic starts to happen!
Save a few tablets for these Alka Seltzer rockets too!
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Notice the tablet is heavy and sinks to the bottom. You may have already observed that water is also heavier than cooking oil.
The chemical reaction between the water and the Alka seltzer starts to take shape as you can see below, and the bubbles or gas that it is produced during the reaction pick up blobs of color!
The reaction will continue for a few minutes, and of course, you can always add another tablet to continue the fun!
SIMPLE LAVA LAMP SCIENCE
There are quite a few learning opportunities here with physics and chemistry! The liquid is one of the three states of matter. It flows, pours, and takes the shape of the container you put it in.
However, liquids have different viscosities or thicknesses. Does the oil pour differently than the water? What do you notice about the food coloring drops you added to the oil/water? Think about the viscosity of other liquids you use.
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Why don’t all liquids simply mix together? Did you notice the oil and water separated? That’s because water is heavier than oil. Making a DENSITY TOWER is a great way to observe how not all liquids weigh the same. Liquids are made up of different numbers of atoms and molecules. In some liquids, these atoms and molecules are packed together more tightly, resulting in a denser or heavier liquid.
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Now for the chemical reaction! When the two substances combine (tablet and water), they create a gas called carbon dioxide, which is all the bubbling you see. These bubbles carry the colored water to the top of the oil, where they pop, and the water falls.
ALSO CHECK OUT: Viscosity Experiment
Make sure to check out all our Valentine’s Day science experiments.
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