I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve spent on Pinterest. I always plan on just looking for a few cool ideas after the kids go to bed, but the next thing I know, it’s 2 a.m. and my mind is spinning with all my new “pins” and the fun I’ll have with them. The kids have to deal with a tired mommy the next day, but I do find cool ideas like THIS lava lamp.


  • cooking oil
  • water
  • food coloring
  • an empty water bottle
  • Alka-Seltzer antacid tablets


  1. Craft 01Fill your bottle about two thirds of the way with oil and the rest of the way with water, leaving about an inch free at the top. NOTE: We liked watching the water layer sink to the bottom, but we had to wait a while for the bubbles to disappear for the next step. Adding the water first, then the food coloring, and finally the oil wasn't quite as fun, but it was a bit faster.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring. (If you did the oil first, then the water, it'll take a little while for the drops of food coloring to "break through" and tint the water.)
  3. Craft 02Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into three or four pieces. Then drop a piece in and watch the magic.
  4. As soon as the tablet hits the layer of water, it will start to fizz and the colored water will erupt!
  5. The bubbles will stop as soon as the tablet dissipates, but they’ll will start up again as soon as you add another tablet. If the oil layer starts to become cloudy with tiny bubbles, just let it settle for a while. Then you can do some more.
  6. My kids loved this so much they worked really hard to be good so they could "earn" more antacid tablets to do it over and over again. This is a project we’ll definitely keep around to reuse!

Laura Novobilsky lives in Maryland and is the proud but exhausted mother of three. She loves to find ways to come together with her kids through crafts, projects, activities and outings. Her favorite activities are easy and inexpensive, yet fun and enjoyable for everyone. Laura shares the many things she has done with and for her children on her blog, Come Together Kids.

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  • Vicki

    Great ideas! Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. Music, food and family fun. Love it all.

    • Jessica

      Isn’t Thanksgiving grand? I always want to give the turkey its due!

  • Christy from DC

    Love the table cloth idea! Thanks.

    • Jessica

      You’re welcome Christy!

  • Wendy

    My daughter is making this craft at summer camp today. Looking forward to seeing it complete.

    • Raeanna

      what is your daughter,s name ?

  • Raeanna

    I,ve seen lava lamp on tv before

  • Stephanie

    how long did you have to wait for the water to sink to the bottom if you put the oil first?

  • Lynn D.

    This craft was a huge hit for my daughters 10th birthday! We didn’t wait for the water to sink and it still worked. I had them wait about 2 min tops and then gave up. The craft was pure joy. We did it with 5 girls. I had them do one step at a time and assist each other. We all stayed on the same step together and one person at a time. They repeated the alka selter step over and over again, they loved watching their own and each other’s. I would say have wet wipes on hand for the oil, sometimes a few drops would bubble out and wet wipes would have been handy. You need alot of Vegetable oil so buy enough. And we went through an entire box of alka seltzer tabs. The craft lasted about 30 minutes.

  • portlandme

    How can I make this into a science fair project ?

    • Sharon Kende-Anchor

      @Portlandme….You can start with the question, what makes a lava lamp work? The hypothesis would be, i think that alka seltzer is heavier than water so it sinks to the bottom of the container. Then, write the steps (procedure) and for conclusion explain that water is a conduit for the acid base reaction (alka seltzer is an acid and a base, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, plus aspirin). The reaction gives off light products (carbon dioxide and water) and this causes the actual lava effect (bubbles moving to top)

  • Jen

    did the mixture spill out when you added alka seltzer? Looking to add this to a Girl Scout camp we are doing and although we are doing it outside, I wanted to see how messy it got when you added the alka seltzer. Thanks!

  • http://www.episolvegi.com Episolve GI Natural_Antacid

    pretty amazing and gooey

  • G

    What is the point of the alka seltzer? Is it necessary? Does it have a porpuse?

  • Jessica Williams

    so what all do they learn from this activity? I would love to use this but I can’t find 3 things it teaches

    • Sharon Kende-Anchor

      This teaches about density. Oil is less dense than water, therefore, it floats on top of it.

      Next Alka-Seltzer sinks to the bottom, mixes with water, and the water starts a reaction between the acid and the base and the Alka-Seltzer. This is called an acid base reaction, more specifically baking soda reacts with citric acid.

      Lastly, the reactants, being baking soda and citric acid, chemically react to form carbon dioxide (and water) which float to the top of the glass. Again because of the density of carbon dioxide) being less than the density of the water or the oil.

      • Jessica Williams

        OK thanks.