Photograph by Hilary Andrews, Nat Geo Staff
Photograph by Hilary Andrews, Nat Geo Staff

Make a Groovy Lava Lamp

Using stuff you probably have lying around the kitchen, you and your family can make your very own lava lamp and learn a bit of science while doing it!

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Lava Lamp Hack Make a groovy lava lamp and learn about liquid densities with this simple lava lamp hack! When picking up supplies, choose biodegradable glitter made from eucalyptus plants instead of the plastic version!


The secret behind the lamp’s “lava” is science. Oil is lighter, or less dense, than water, so it rises to the surface. Salt is heavier, or more dense, than water, and sinks to the bottom. When you add the salt, blobs of oil attach to the grains and sink. Then the salt dissolves, and the oil returns to the top. The result? A liquid show for the eyes.