It’s safe to say I will never look at an empty 2L bottle the same way again. Now that I’ve had the pleasure of doing several science demonstrations, I’ve learned that there are at least 5 amazing experiments you can keep mostly contained to a 2L bottle.
The best thing though is watching the kids come back to see the experiment over and over again. You can see their little gears spinning each time they observe it with new guesses and theories.
Note: I’ve rated these experiments from 0 to 10 (0 being the least messy and 10 being the most messy) so you can choose the level of clean up afterwards. (You can thank me later!)
Tornado in a Bottle (Messy rating = 0)
This one is just mesmerizing. Kids and adults alike will stop and try it out. You can make it even more fun by adding glitter and a few sponge animals to recreate the movie Twister. I’ve also found that it calms down kiddos so they are ready for a nap… score 1 for Mom! Check it out here.
Bottle Diver Experiment (Messy rating = 2)
I’ve been wanting to try this experiment (also called Cartesian Diver) for a long time but was majorly nervous that it wouldn’t work. Then I found Danielle’s site with amazing step by step instructions here. It turns out this is amazingly simple and it is fascinating to watch!
(The messy rating is a 2 because if the diver’s “tank” gets flooded then you have to fish him out of the bottle by dumping all the water out and filling the bottle back up.)
Blowing up a Balloon with Yeast (Messy rating = 3)
This is a classic experiment you’ve got to try if you are into making homemade bread. It helped answer Allie’s question abut why bread can be so fluffy. Check it out here.
Groovy Lava Lamps (Messy rating = 5)
The messy rating is going up but all you need for this one is a water bottle, water, vegetable oil, and Alka Seltzer tablets. The messy rating is a 5 because I have anxious kiddos who like to toss lots of Alka Seltzer tablets in already bubbling bottle of oily water. I’d advise doing the experiment over a pie plate to catch the oily water. Check out our lava lamp here.
A Mentos Geyser (Messy rating = 10… I think you can imagine why!)
Technically this does not start with an empty bottle but it will become empty in less than 15 seconds after this explosive experiment. I suggest you do it outside around a sprinkler or a pool for easy cleanup. Trust me, you will become an instant science celebrity to your kids! Check out Andrew’s birthday Mentos geyser here.
Can you think of other experiments in a bottle? I’d love to add your suggestions to the list!