Learning Simply – Exploding Water Bubbles

by amanda
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Exploding Water Bubbles Experiment

For a 3 year old who cannot sit still for more than one minute, I’ve had to really think of engaging activities to hold his attention. This one was a real winner that had lots of bubbly reactions and gave the opportunity for practicing hand motor movements.

You will need:

  • eager beaver toddler scientist ready to do some pouring
  • a glass jar
  • cooking oil (any kind will do, . I found the lightest in colour to get the best effect from food colouring)
  • water
  • food colouring (any kind will do as long as it is water based)
  • secret ingredient: effervescence tablet. Vitamin tablets from the pharmacy, or usually those that help with digestion will fizz.


First, pour the oil into the jar, then add the water gradually. As the water drops to the bottom due to higher density, you will notice the water bubbles forming as it sinks (looks pretty cool too!). My toddler was too excited to get the fizz going that he did not notice how the oil and water separated in a cool bubbling way when mixed together. I’m sure an older toddlers at ages 4 and older will be very impressed with the effect.

Then add droplets of food colouring of your choice. You will see nicely defined food colour droplets as they sink through the oil. Drop as much food colouring as you like.

Now your young scientist is ready to pop the secret ingredient and watch the explosion.

Useful tips

Pour the oil and water in any proportion and the bubbling will still work. As you can see in our second attempt my enthusiastic toddler over filled the jar which resulted in a volcanic eruption.

Let your young scientist experiment to see the different results.

Watch the Bubbles over and over again

The water and oil will separate and settle once the fizz has stopped. Just pop another tablet to watch the magic again. Or break up a big tablet into smaller ones and see how that changes the bubbling.

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