If you want to teach your child more about the weather, then this experiment is a fun way to simulate what a tornado vortex is like in a nutshell – or rather in a jar… There’s some flexibility on what ingredients you can use too, most of which being common in a household. The jar tornado science experiment is not only fun, but simple and safe to set up. Show your child the wonders of the weather with an amazing looking tornado in a jar!
You will need:
- A Jar/Bottle
- Washing Up Liquid
- Blue Food Colouring/Blue Glitter
- A Pipette
- A Teaspoon
- Vinegar (Optional)
- Fill your jar/bottle up with water until it’s almost full.
- Add in 3-5 drops of blue food colouring OR a tiny sprinkle of blue glitter and lightly stir. (The bigger the jar/bottle, the more food colouring you should add!)
- Mix in a teaspoon of washing up liquid (and vinegar if you wish) and tightly close the lid on the jar/bottle.
- Make sure you move to a kitchen or bathroom (in case of spillage) and rotate the jar/bottle around in a circle by it’s lid. You should see a tornado vortex start to appear in the water. And it’s as simple as that!
- After you’ve stopped swirling, the tornado will eventually start to fade. However, the remains of your jar/bottle can look quite pretty! If you ever want to repeat the experiment, why not try different food colourings?
The Science Bit:
Now that you’ve completed your jar tornado science experiment, let’s learn how it works! As the water in the jar is swirled around, it is forced to the outer side of the jar/bottle and because of that, the air inside is left to rotate in the middle, creating the shape of a tornado. The spiraling shape is formed because of the gravity acting against the water. This is similar to how real tornadoes are formed, except usually they are composed of both hot and cold air that spin at extreme speeds. We hope you have fun making your very own tornadoes in a jar at home!