Student Anxiety Relief: Part 3 of 5, Lava Bottles


Last fall, when I began taking my daughters to the counseling sessions, I couldn’t help but notice how my kids loved the little oil and water drip thingys the doctor had in her office. If we ever needed a few minutes to talk, doctor lady would pull on of them out, flip it over, and quiet would fall on the room.

They would stare at it,in near silence, and watch the little bubbles of oil drop. It was awesome.

Trying to take advantage of this discovery, I purchased a couple cheap lava lamps to be used as night light’s in my girls’ rooms. It’s a good thing I remembered they needed to warm up for hours or we would have NEVER made it to bedtime. My oldest still has issues getting settled, but it has provided something soothing for my smaller ones to stare at when they are trying to fall asleep.

Since I refuse to unplug them, bring them downstairs, and plug them into an extension cord at the kitchen table, I figured I better find a way to make the effect portable. Thanks to a very popular science project from Steve Spangler Science, and a ton of blog posts with different variations of it, we made homemade lava lamps!

**I love this post where Bird and Little Bird make theirs out of mason jars…who doesn’t love a mason jar craft?**

DIY Lava Lamps


Lava Jar Supplies

  • Clean plastic bottle or glass jar
  • Cap for bottle or jar
  • Vegetable oil, or mineral oil
  • Food Coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer tablets
  • Water
  • Flashlight (optional)


  1. Fill bottle/jar 3/4 full with vegetable oil or mineral oil. Adding Water
  2. Add water until full but not overflowing. Notice how the oil and water don’t mix? Oil and Water don't mix
  3. Add food coloring to your liking. See how the food coloring only colors the water? Adding Food Coloring
  4. Break up your Alka-Seltzer tablet into several pieces.
  5. Drop a piece of your tablet into the bottle/jar and watch what happens. When the bubbles stop, simply add a new piece of tablet.Lava
  6. Dual Purpose Alert! When you’re ready, cap the bottle or jar and lay it on it’s side. You can now sway it back and forth to create ocean waves!

Did you miss the first four in the series? Check them out here –> Chaos Appreciation’s Five Part Series on Student Anxiety Relief



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