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 lava lamp experiment 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 with one simple Valentine’s Day science activity.
Explore Lava Lamp Science For Valentine’s Day
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!
Valentines Lava Lamp Experiment
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
STEP 1. 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?
STEP 2. Next, you want to fill your jar(s) the rest of the way with water. Make sure to observe what happens to the oil and water in your jars.
STEP 3. Add drops of red food coloring to your oil and water and watch what happens. You can also sprinkle in glitter and confetti.
TIP: 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!
STEP 4. 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!
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!
How Does It Work?
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.
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.
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.
What Is Chemistry?
Let’s keep it basic for our younger or junior scientists! Chemistry is all about the way different materials are put together, and how they are made up including atoms and molecules. It’s also how these materials act under different conditions. Chemistry is often a base for physics so you will see overlap!
What might you experiment with in chemistry? Classically we think of a mad scientist and lots of bubbling beakers, and yes there is a reaction between bases and acids to enjoy! Also, chemistry involves matter, changes, solutions, and the list goes on and on.
We will be exploring simple chemistry you can do at home or in the classroom that isn’t too crazy, but is still lots of fun for kids! You can check out some more chemistry activities here. Check out the video! You can never recreate the same look twice.
Helpful Science Resources To Get You Started
Here are a few resources that will help you introduce science more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident yourself when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.
More Fun Valentine’s Day Science Experiments
You can find all our Valentine’s Day science experiments here, including…
- Candy Heart Oobleck
- Viscosity Experiment
- Valentine Balloon Rocket
- Valentines Skittles Experiment
- Dissolving Candy Heart Science
- Grow Crystal Hearts
- Valentines Magic Milk
Printable Valentine STEM Project Pack
Countdown to Valentine’s Day with science and STEM! Pack includes complete instructions, templates, and images for 20+ activities. Bonus: printable science Valentine’s Day cards!