Last week we had fun learning about clouds. This week we continued our weather unit. One of our favorite activities has been making a simple tornado in a jar.
Materials needed to make your own tornado:
- Clear bottle or jar with a securely fitting lid
- Liquid dish soap
- Glitter, stickers, paper (optional)
We chose 3 containers from our recycling bin. We had a large soda pop bottle, a smaller drink bottle, and a clear jar that was between them in size.
We filled each container 3/4 of the way with water and added several drops of liquid soap to each. (4-5 drops of soap were added to the smallest container; 10 were added to the largest one.)
Then it was time to create our tornadoes!
By simply turning the container upside down and swirling the liquid in a circular motion around the container, you will get a rotation going in the water.
If you swirl it enough, the rotation will continue for a bit after you set the container down.
After a few tries, we decided to add a bit of “debris” to our tornadoes to help us see them better. (Here is where the glitter, stickers, and ripped up paper come in to play!)
The kids had a blast making tiny dinosaur stickers “get sucked up in tornadoes” over and over again.
Tip: If you plan to do this activity, we discovered the larger, soda pop bottle was hard to get a good rotation going, especially for kids. The smaller container made a nice, tight tornado, while our wider container made the most visible twister for us.
Want to take your tornado experiment further?
Try adding other objects to the bottle to see how they will react in the tornado. (A small Monopoly house perhaps?)
Try adding more soap, or using a different brand. Does it affect the tornado?
Add a squirt of food coloring to the mix. (Always fun for the younger crowd!)
Have fun making a tornado in a jar!
Be sure to check out some of our other weather unit activities: