Continuing with our “language and lemonade” theme this week, I wanted to share with you a twist on a classic children’s science experiment- the DIY lava lamp! This is an activity that I’ve seen on many a summer bucket list this year, and although the science behind the reaction is a bit beyond my twins, I knew it would be very visually stimulating and captivate their attention, which would in turn lead to lots of opportunities for language expansion. Plus, I really really REALLY wanted to try it for myself 😉
To create our lava lamp, we used cheap cooking oil, water, pink food coloring, and generic fizzing antacid tablets. Since everything is BIGGER in Texas, I decided to use the giant glass cylindrical vase that we previously used for our worm observation tower as our container. To make it even more lava-lamp like, I placed the vase on our light panel for the activity.
To start off, I poured some plain tap water into the bottom of the vase, and then slowly added almost two large containers of oil. I was hoping that the large quantity of yellow oil might suggest lemonade to tie into our theme, but it really just looked like a giant glass of beer Luckily the twins did not make the connection, hah! They were enthralled with the tiny bubbles in the oil as it separated from the water. They had no idea what was coming!
After they looked at the oil for a bit, I decided to further tie in the lemonade theme by giving them some plastic ice cubes to drop into the vase. It was so cool to watch them slooooowly fall down through the oil and then plunk quickly through the water into the bottom.
Next we added about half a small bottle of hot pink food coloring to suggest “pink” lemonade. That turned out to be a little much, considering the lamp ended up looking red, but the twins sure didn’t care! It was really interesting to see the big globs of color fall through the oil and then settle on the top of the water. Then they slowly “rained” down into the water, eventually mixing completely.
And then, we were finally ready for the magic! We used almost an entire box of antacid tablets, sometimes not even bothering to break them up. The twins would each drop one in, watch the reaction, and then reach for another as soon as the last one fizzled out.
LOTS of language was going on here, folks! “Wow! Going up up UP! Shoot on the ceiling, Mommy! Shoot on the floor! It a bolcado (volcano)! It a wimmin’ pool (swimming pool)! I wub waba WAMP Mommy!”
Will loved the lamp so much that he had to give it a kiss and a hug.
In case you were wondering what it looked like in daylight sans light table…pretty cool here, too!
More Language and Lemonade Activities: