Tornado in a Jar: Simple Science Experiment for Kids

Most kids love making hands-on science activities. However, many science experiments call for massive ingredients lists, a lot of time, or unusual ingredients. We like making simple science experiments that you can make from ingredients and supplies you already have on hand. A classic and fun simple science experiment is the tornado in a jar. With this experiment, kids can see how air that swirls in a circular pattern can create a funnel and pick stuff up off the ground.

If your kids love science, then they will love this super-simple and fun science experiment- tornado in a jar! Making a tornado is easy and tons of fun!

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THE TORNADO IN A JAR ACTIVITY:

  • Tall jar (we used a 16 ounce mason jar)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Glitter
  • Water
If your kids love science, then they will love this super-simple and fun science experiment- tornado in a jar! Making a tornado is easy and tons of fun!

Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dish soap, and 1 teaspoon of glitter in a jar 3/4 full of water. Stir everything in carefully so that you don’t make too many bubbles. If you shake your jar too much, it won’t make a tornado. If this happens, you don’t have to throw the batch out. Just wait until the bubbles settle and then you’ll be able to make another tornado.

We added a few drops of yellow food coloring to our jar. Where we live, sometimes the sky turns a scary, sickly yellow when a tornado is near, so we wanted to mimic that in our jar. You could also use blue for the sky color. Whatever color you add, make sure to just add a bit of color or you won’t be able to see your tornado.

If your kids love science, then they will love this super-simple and fun science experiment- tornado in a jar! Making a tornado is easy and tons of fun!

Screw the lid on tightly and give the jar a swirling motion to create the tornado.

You can also use a knife to stir things around. We found this made a more dramatic tornado in our jar.

If your kids love science, then they will love this super-simple and fun science experiment- tornado in a jar! Making a tornado is easy and tons of fun!

Watch as the tornado funnels down to the bottom of the jar, comes up, and picks up some of the glitter sitting on the bottom.

If your kids love science, then they will love this super-simple and fun science experiment- tornado in a jar! Making a tornado is easy and tons of fun!

You can use this opportunity to talk about how tornadoes work and why they pick up stuff from the ground as well.

My kids wanted to repeat making tornadoes for nearly an hour. They were delighted at the results of their tornado in a jar!

tornado in a jar science experiment for kids

 

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