Both of my kids are fascinated by volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and so on. Since this week’s theme with our creative preschool friends is science experiments, I thought it would be fun to do a tornado in jar experiment with them. We had quite a few fails before getting it right, but otherwise it is easy to whip together with a few household items. In other words, we did a lot of experimenting to get our tornadoes going!
I am going to share my tornado in a jar tips with you!
Hopefully it will help you and save time figuring out what you might be doing wrong.
How to make the Tornado in a Jar:
You will need a clear, empty container such as an empty jar or plastic bottle. We made two different tornadoes using an empty peanut butter jar container and a long, skinny plastic bottle.
I couldn’t get a well-lit photo of the bottle one, but it looked just as neat!
Add water leaving a gap at the top. Add a drop of dish soap.
Place the cap on and shake it from side to side. Watch as it magically appears right before your kids eyes! If it doesn’t, hopefully one of my tips will help.
Tornado in a Jar Tips
1. Add glitter! It makes it so much easier to see plus it’s fun to watch it swirl around inside. I didn’t add very much.
2. Add a small drop of dish soap. After lots of trial and error, I came to the conclusion that it was getting too sudsy.
3. Shake it side to side or in a fast, circular motion UPSIDE DOWN. I have no idea why, but both our tornadoes only worked when flipped upside down.
4. Hold it up to the light or in front of a window. It is definitely easier to see when it has light in the background.
5. Experiment with different bottles/jars.
6. Let it rest in between shakes.
Peanut Butter Jar verses Skinny Plastic Bottle
The peanut butter jar made a wide tornado that was easier to see. It also looked clearer and seemed easier to get going.
The plastic bottle we used made a long, thin tornado which was also neat to see. It took a little bit for the kids to figure out how to shake it right and the water turned cloudy. They loved it just as much. Besides the glitter, I added a superman sticker (the kind that come in separate pieces and look like shiny foil) and a tiny frog bead.
Both kids loved watching Spiderman and the frog get whisked away in the tornado! Sometimes the sticker would swirl around in the center and sometimes at the very bottom with the bead.
Looking for more fun science activities suitable for a preschooler?
This post is also part of a collaborative series with 4 other crafty bloggers. Twice a month we will be sharing ideas for the same preschool theme. This week’s creative learning theme is SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS.
We would love for you to check out their preschool science posts!
- I Heart Crafty Things – Static Electricity Butterfly Experiment
- A Little Pinch of Perfect – Candy Science: Pop Rock Balloons
- Pink Stripey Socks – Science with Preschoolers: Making Charts
- Handmade Kids Art – Preschool Science: Investigating Superhero Signals