This lava lamp experiment should be on the top of your list to try out. It’s very engaging and leaves kids with hours of entertainment. This experiment works because water does not mix with oil. This is because water is held together by hydrogen bonds, instead of the fats in oil. The fats in oils can’t break through the hydrogen bonds, forcing them to stay separate. Alka Seltzer releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when activated by the water.

Try the experiment to see what happens when you mix all three together!

Supplies Needed

  • Vegetable oil

  • Water

  • Food coloring

  • Alka seltzer tablets

  • Glass or water bottle


  • To begin, fill two cups with water 1/2 of the way. Drop 2-3 drops of food coloring in each one (to the desired color).

  • Place 1 Alka Seltzer tablet  in a small container. Make sure to break it up in 2-3 pieces.

  • Take a glass cup (or water bottle) and fill ¾ with vegetable oil. Taking the colored water fill the rest of the cup up, leaving 1-2 inches from the top of the glass.

  • Drop the Alka Seltzer tablet in the glass cup and watch the magic happen.