Author: Sophie Rosen

As the weather cools down and winter draws near, we’re already reminiscing about the summer — in particular, ELG’s Summer Program. The Summer Program for children and young adults included tons of fun and beneficial activities, many of which are easy to do at home or in school with your own children. One of our favorites was making lava lamps, which we’ve included the instructions for below!

Homemade Lava Lamps (Source:

Image source:


  • Empty, clean bottles
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • Effervescent tablets (we used these ones from Jing Dong, but you can use any kind)



  1. Fill the bottle most of the way with vegetable oil.
  2. Fill the rest of it with water, which will sink under the oil.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring. Because food coloring is water-based, it will sink and color the water.
  4. Break an effervescent tablet into small pieces. One at a time, drop the pieces into the bottle.
  5. When the reaction slows down, add more effervescent tablets.


These instructions are based on the Bill Nye the Science Guy “Volcanoes” episode (VPN required), which you can watch to learn some of the science behind why and how this experiment works. For repeated fun, try experimenting with different amounts of oil, water, or tablets, or see what different color combinations you can make.