Make an ocean in a bottle with 3 easy ingredients. One of the fastest and easiest-ever science activities for preschoolers.
I love to make homemade toys for the hooligans. Discovery bottles are always a favourite here. They look so beautiful, and no matter what we fill them with.
This particular ocean in a bottle has to be the most amazing looking bottle we’ve made yet though! It was SO easy to make, and you likely already have everything you need on hand.
This oil and water science experiment isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a classic preschool science activity that’s been around for years. I actually can’t believe we haven’t done it before! Yesterday, I happened upon this learning discovery bottle over at Play Trains, and I decided we’d make an ocean bottle of our own today.
To make our Ocean in a Bottle, we used:
- cooking oil (we used canola, but vegetable would work well)
- blue food colouring
- large clear, plastic bottle (2 litre pop bottle, shampoo bottle, mouthwash bottle etc.)
TIP: a mouthwash bottle is perfect, as it has a child-proof lid which prevents the kids from opening it when playing with it.
If you want to explain the scientific details to your child, pop over and check out this article explaining why oil and water don’t mix.
How to make an ocean in a bottle:
I didn’t have a 2L pop bottle on hand, so we used an empty mouthwash bottle. I like that the lid is child-safe, and too challenging for little hands to twist open. If you’re using a bottle that’s not child-safe, you might want to run a little hot-glue around the inside of the bottle lid.
- Fill approximately 1/3 of your bottle with water.
- Add several drops of food colouring.
- Have your child shake the bottle to disperse the food colouring.
Now, simply top up the bottle with oil. I filled ours right to the top and then popped the lid on.
Let the fun begin!
Tip the bottle upside down and watch your ocean come to life.
The pictures really don’t do this activity justice. You have to see it in action.
The way the waves roll cascade inside the bottle is just beautiful, and watching the big blobs of colour swoosh and fall through the yellow oil is really fascinating.
The more you agitate the bottle, the more the bubbly the ocean becomes.
Set your bottle down occasionally to let the bubbles settle, and then start all over again.
Doesn’t it look amazing?
More easy experiments for kids:
- Water Displacement Experiment
- Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art
- Wax Resist Art
- Melting Ice with Salt and Water
- Colour Mixing Experiment
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.