This easy tornado in a bottle experiment is pretty exciting for kids to do! It’s the perfect complement to a weather science unit too. Hands-on learning about tornadoes that is safe! Read on for the step by step instructions to set up your own tornado in a bottle experiment.

Tornado bottle weather science and preschool activity for spring STEMPin

Explore Tornadoes For Spring Science

Spring is the perfect time of year for science! There are so many fun themes to explore. For this time of the year, our favorite topics to teach kids about spring include plants, rainbows, geology, Earth Day and of course weather!

Learn about how tornadoes are formed with this simple tornado in a bottle activity. My son actually enjoys checking out the weather and the temperature every day! We recently checked out the book, Otis And The Tornado from the library and he inquired about a homemade tornado bottle we had previously made. Here is how you make one!

How Does A Tornado Form?

A tornado is a giant rotating column of air that comes from the thunderstorm down to the ground. Most tornados form from thunderstorms where warm, moist air meets cold, dry air. When hot and cool air meet, the atmosphere becomes unstable and winds increase.

Most of the tornadoes in the world occur in the United States during spring and summer. But tornadoes can happen any time of the year. Peak tornado season is considered between the months of April and June. 

A tornado watch means to be prepared. It doesn’t mean that a tornado has been seen or even shown on the weather radar. It means there is the potential for it to occur.

On the other hand, a tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. The National Weather Service (NWS) will issue a tornado warning so that people know to seek shelter.

How To Make A Tornado In A Bottle


  • Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Tall Narrow Plastic Bottle (like a VOS water bottle)


STEP 1:  Simply fill a bottle 3/4 of the way with water and add a drop dish soap. Cover tightly.


STEP 2:  Give the bottle a good shake with a roll of the wrist and watch!

TIPS:  I grabbed a VOS water bottle, plastic, tall and narrow. I emptied and refilled the bottle with water and added a little squirt of dish soap. We felt it was easier to achieve a tornado every time after the soap/water mixture had sat a while.


How Does A Tornado In A Bottle Work?

Spinning or rolling the bottle in a circular motion creates a water vortex that looks like a mini tornado! Other vortexes found in nature include tornadoes, hurricanes, and waterspouts (where a tornado forms over the water instead of land).

Sticking with preschool science, we talked about the funnel cloud that forms, the fast-moving swirling clouds, the hail and thunder, and lighting. We touched briefly on the idea that warm moist, cool air and changing winds form the storms that potentially cause tornadoes.

He was mostly interested in what people do during a storm and what happens to the trees and buildings. Simple things!

Tornado bottle hands on sciencePin

Turn It Into A Tornado Science Project

Science projects are an excellent tool for older kiddos to show what they know about a topic! Plus, they can be used in all sorts of environments including classrooms, homeschool, and groups.

Kids can take everything they have learned about using the scientific method, stating a hypothesis, choosing variables, and analyzing and presenting data.

A tornado in a bottle is a great way to make a tornado for a science project, and explain the science of tornadoes.

Check out these helpful resources…

Explore Earth Science Topics For Kids

Weather science and meteorology are included under the branch of science known as Earth Science.

Earth Science is the study of the earth and everything that physically makes up it and its atmosphere. From the ground we walk on to the air we breathe, the wind that blows, and the oceans we swim in.

In Earth Science you learn about…

More Fun Weather Science Activities To Try

Check out our list of weather activities for preschoolers, elementary and older. Including…

Bonus Printable Spring Pack

If you’re looking to grab all of the worksheets and printables in one convenient place plus exclusives with a spring theme, our 300+ page Spring STEM Project Pack is what you need! Weather, geology, plants, life cycles, and more!


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