Clubhouse Lava Lamp

Today the Fit Kids Clubhouse Classroom was closed, or so I thought. Before I was even done with my coffee my Son, who had me all to himself today, asked...

"Can we do a Science Experiment in the Classroom?"

How can I turn down a request like that?

Sure I wanted to prepare for the blog I was planning to write about reading with your preschooler. I had a few pictures to take, notes to make. I wanted to prepare for Dr. Seuss week, and plan everything so I'm not be rushing around at the last minute looking for the healthiest ways to color eggs green. I planned to go to the library, stop at the store, and get in a playground visit.

Instead, I decided to let my Son write the lesson plan today.

Asking him what he would like to experiment with he thought for a moment,
(he literally taps his little finger to the side of his lip when he's "thinking") and said...


Well that was easy. Want to make a Volcano, or a Lava Lamp?

More finger tapping...

"Lava Lamp!!!"

This is one we hadn't done yet, and I was just as excited as he was. I have read a few different ways to do this. Some using Salt instead of fizzy tablets. Some using more water, less oil. Like most experiments, ingredients always vary. We went with more oil, simply because he wanted to pour out of the "pretty bottles" in the kitchen.

Food Coloring
Cut up Alka Seltzer tablets  
A nice long bottle to put it all in

We were ready.

He got right to work, first pouring the oil into the bottle. We decided to fill the bottle up with oil up to the line on the bottle. There was no official measuring involved, I just thought that looked about right.

Then he added the water. Again, no measuring. Just until we thought it had enough. Hey, it's an experiment, right?

As he was pouring the water, bubbles started to form and rise up to the top. He was already excited about what was happening and we hadn't even gotten to the color part yet!

First we added Red, because...

"Red is the color of Lava."

I can honestly say at this point I just got to sit back and watch him experiment.

I think I'll let you do the same.

Adding the red food coloring.

After dropping in an Alka Seltzer tab, he was clearly impressed.

Adding some blue food coloring to the mix, to see if he could make purple bubbles.
Dropping in another fizzy tab, and watching the colors bubble and merge.
Since we hadn't put the lid on the bottle yet, he could hear the fizzing sound coming from the bottle. He put his ear up close and just listened.
Then he wanted a birds eye view before I put the lid on. 
He was so excited about the bubbles he could see right at the surface that I had to take a look for myself.
We put the lid on and then he asked for a marker. Apparently he wanted to play connect the dots.
Realizing the dots moved everywhere and connecting them might take awhile, he decided to turn the bottle on the side and see how the bubbles reacted. 
This, of course, led to turning the bottle upside down. He wanted to see if he could stand the bottle upside down and watch the bubbles "float backwards". I was about to say that the bottle wouldn't balance on that small top. That it was too heavy, that it would tip. Instead I just watched, and... well see for yourself:
He did it!!!
I didn't say a word, and he did it!! 
He balanced the bottle upside down and could watch the bubbles "float backwards". Lesson learned, for me. A lesson I have learned over and over again. Sometimes sitting back and saying nothing is the best way to teach them.
Or wait, would that be them teaching us?
Does it matter? Look at that face. He felt accomplished.
I didn't accomplish a thing on my morning to-do list,
but that no longer mattered.

The experiment continued as he decided to take his new lava lamp outside and see if it looked different in the Sun. I tell ya, this kid is good at a lesson plan. I should hire him ;)

Notice the squirt bottle? He asked me to fill it with water so he could squirt the lava lamp and see how the bubbles looked when the bottle was wet.

Then he carefully put the bottle in different locations to see if it looked any differently. 

That's when it happened.

"MOM!!!! LOOK!!! There's A RED BUBBLE left!!"

I don't know if you can even see it in the picture. I wish I was next to you and I could point it out. It's a tiny little red bubble, close to the line at the top. He was so excited to have found this surviving red bubble he closely watched the bottle, as he twisted and turned it, to try and find some more...

and he did.
Can you see them this time?

In the neck of the bottle. A few red bubbles that were apparently "too strong to mix with the blue!!"

You have got to love that kind of focus. When this kid said he wanted to do a Science Experiment this morning he was not kidding!

The lava lamp eventually made it's way back into the classroom, 
and this is what it looked like after being left alone for a little while.

Which of course meant he had to drop another fizzy tab in and do it all over again.

I must admit, I was thoroughly impressed at his ability to carry on this experiment without me. I was just observing as he decided what he thought he should explore next. I let him lead, and we ended up enjoying an activity for almost the entire morning. 

I share this with you, not because I think you want to see 22 pictures of my Son and his lava lamp, but because I want you to see how simple it can to be to keep a Preschooler focused on a task. 

How awesome it can be to watch their faces light up as they try something new. 

How sometimes cancelling your plans for the morning when they have a different plan in mind, can be a good thing. 

A wonderful thing.

I hope you don't mind me sharing my thoughts, instead of just sharing the ingredients that go into a lava lamp. 

Sometimes thoughts are meant to be shared, and looking for 4 red bubbles in a Sea of blue, is a pretty enlightening way to start your day.

I will have to go to the library tomorrow. Tomorrow I will also write the blog I was going to write tonight, all about engaging your Preschooler in reading. As for next week's lesson plans, I think I'm going to consult with my Son and see what he thinks we should do :)

I'm.. in.. a.. Lava Lamp,
(Come on, am I the only one who hears that song lyric when I hear the words lava lamp? I blame my College days... forgive me... carry on.)

Ms. Liz 


  1. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I missed your link last week midst my crazy week, and I'm glad I took the time to come back and read this.

    He really enjoyed it all, and your comments were great!

  2. Thanks so much Ticia, I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment :) The lava lamp has become a staple in the Clubhouse Classroom. Every day I see at least 1 child decide to twist, turn, shake, and observe. I guess my son was really on to something that morning!! :D