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Kids Science: Make Your Own Lava Lamp


School’s back in session and with it a continued enthusiasm for learning ever after classes are out.

Last Monday at 115th Street’s bi-weekly Science Monday, kids (and some parents) came out to try their hand at some scientific and artistic experimentation.

Remember lava lamps? Those lights filled with glow-in-the-dark liquid and colorful globs of goo? Our younger participants recognized them immediately and were eager to see if they could create their own versions simply using items found in most households.

We used clear containers (with a lid), water, vegetable oil, food coloring and the magic ingredient: Alka-Seltzer. The kids experimented with different water to oil ratios, colors, as well as bottle sizes and shapes to see how those choices affected the outcome of the lamp. They also experimented with dropping in the Alka-Seltzer one piece at a time waiting patiently for it to dissolve and delivering it rapid fire gleefully observing the flurry of activity it created in the jars.

It was a great success! Everyone even got to take one home, and potentially continue the experiment with the one step we couldn’t conduct in the library: turning on a flashlight underneath the makeshift “lamp” in the dark to see the mixture of liquid and colorful blobs glow in all its classic retro glory.

Science Monday is held every 2 weeks on the children’s floor of the 115th Street Branch for ages 5-12 (and younger patrons with an adult). Check out the schedule for more and keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages to see what experiments we’ll be undertaking next!


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