Properties of Matter

Lava Lamp

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • A large glass
  • Lemonade (or fizzy water)
  • Peanuts (or raisins)


  1. Fill the glass with lemonade
  2. Stir for 1 min or leave to go slightly flat
  3. Drop some peanuts into the glass

Results and Explanation

The nuts float up to the top and fall back down again, like in a lava lamp. Gas bubbles grow on the peanuts, making them float upwards. When they reach the top the bubbles burst and the peanuts fall back down again.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

is a special case of Force
appears in the relation Upthrust = Weight of Displaced Liquid
IOP 2022 Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more