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How To Make A Lava Lamp

A lava lamp lets you enjoy seeing colourful bubbles going up and down.

For this activity you’ll need:

  • Bicarbonate of Soda/Sodium bicarbonate
  • Cooking Oil (E.g sunflower oil of vegetable oil)
  • Vinegar
  • Food Colouring
  • Transparent Jar (or a clear water bottle)
  • Spoon
  • A little cup
  • A torch
  • A room where you can get darkness

Now you have your lava lamp. Lets play with the torch!

  • Place your light beneath the jar. It is the best way to enjoy watching the bubbles.
  • Pick up the jar and move the light around it.
  • Put your jar on the table and point your torch to the jar.
  • Can you get the bubbles’ shadows on a wall?
  • What is the best way to light up the bubbles in the jar?

Now you have made some shadows with your lava lamp, here are some ideas to try with some other shadows:

  • Play some nice and calm music, keep your room dark and experiment!
  • Put your hand in front of the torch and see what shapes you can make.
  • Move your hand closer or further away from the torch. See how your shadow changes in size.
  • Make shadows on the wall, the corner of your room or ceiling. You can make shadows on your white t-shirt too!
  • Look for objects around the house and make shadows with these. Kitchen gadgets like a cheese grater, a sieve or a whisk are fun. Transparent items, like glass, make beautiful shadows as well.
  • Cut a square from a plastic bag and colour it with a permanent marker. Then place it in front of your torch. This way you can make coloured shadows!
  • You can use any thin paper for a shadow screen, such as printer paper, greaseproof paper, or packing paper. You can also try moving only the torch on the paper screen.
  • Fill a tupperware container with water and point the torch through it. You can make shadows with water!


Need help or want to go further? Have a read of questions:

I can't see any bubbles?

Sometimes bubbles are not very active for the first few minutes. Don’t worry. It gets very bubbly a bit later. The lava lamp will last about 10-15 minutes. If your bubbles die down, you can add more of the vinegar/food colouring mixture to the jar. It will get the bubbles going again. Perhaps you can mix different food colourings to the vinegar so you will have different coloured bubbles.

I need help!

Please contact us on DLL@ioi.london or give us a call on 07585002


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