Lava Lamp! Science Craft: 4 Easy Step

Activity By Jess Thodas
enfant jouant avec une lampe à lave qui veut en savoir plus sur la science

Homemade lava lamps are fun, easy, and make science mesmerizing.

They are a great craft to do at home with your children and can be fun for all ages. Learning English is fun when it is interactive! Doing crafts while using English instructions can be a fun way to have your child practice English and learn new words hands-on.

Depending on where your child is in their ESL journey, you can read them the instructions and help show them each step to help them associate the words. Or, you can have them try and read the steps out loud. Each step has English vocabulary words that are essential to the step and that you can teach or review with your child during this craft. 

Today we are making homemade lava lamps. These lava lamps are cheap, fun, easy, and entertaining!

These lava lamps will stimulate your child’s creativity while reinforcing their English outside the classroom and in everyday settings.

So, let’s get to it!

Today we are making homemade lava lamps. These lava lamps are cheap, fun, easy, and entertaining, so let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

  • An empty water bottle or glass jar (transparent)
  • Water
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • Spoon
  • Cooking oil of your choice (vegetable oil works well!)
  • Alka-Seltzer tablets

Step 1:

Fill a clean jar or plastic bottle 1/3 of the way with water. 

  • Vocab words: water, jar, bottle, and one-third.

Step 2:

 Mix food colouring until you have your desired colour and stir. You can have fun mixing colours and practicing what colour combinations create which colours. Also, a great time to practice colours in English!

  • Vocab words: mix, colour, stir, and spoon.

Step 3:

Add cooking oil just below the top, stopping about ½ an inch to an inch away from the top. Allow the oil to settle. While you wait, you can talk with your child about how oil and water do not mix. I recommend not shaking this mixture because it will trap bubbles in the oil. 

  • Vocab words: cooking oil, half an inch, an inch, don’t mix, and separate. 

Step 4:

Break or cut tablets into four pieces that are roughly the same size. Drop one piece of the tablet into each jar that you have made. Watch the lava lamp start working as the bubbles rise to the top. When the bubbles settle, you can add another piece of the tablet or seal the jar and bring it out later to play with.

  • Vocab: break, pieces, drop, bubble, and a lava lamp. 

On a final note – You may be asking yourself how doing an activity can help your child learn new language skills? Well, it is super simple Learning that focuses on doing science can encourage language development because children are encouraged to talk about their experiences, what they see, what they do – such as describing their observations, making sense of phenomena, and explaining the science! 

This is called a CLIL approach. Studies support the effectiveness of a CLIL approach which stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning, and as the term suggests, this approach is used to teach students about a subject in a language familiar or foreign to them.

Doing a experiment with kids is an example of a Communicative Language Approach (CLT), which is based on the idea that successful language learning is achieved through the need to communicate real meaning, reflecting real-life situations.

Note: This ESL lava lamp craft was inspired by the PBS kid’s Lava Lamp craft.


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