Glowing Tornado in a Jar

AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
Explore the weather in a unique and fun way with this tornado experiment for kids!
 My girls had so much fun with this, and you most likely have everything needed already on hand!  

Glowing Tornado
Experiment
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glow-in-the-dark tornado in a jar!
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Begin by discussing storms, tornadoes, and how they form.  We read a few books about storms and tornadoes.  Then, we set out to make a glowing tornado!

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Materials
Note:  For the best effect you will want to use a blacklight for this activity. My girls love using these super cool flashlights.  We also have a blacklight fixture that we often use.  If using a blacklight I also recommend these uv-safety glasses.  My girls love wearing them, and they will protect kids eyes if (or shall we say when) they shine the lights at each other.

Method
  • Begin by having kids mix a tiny amount of glowing paint with very warm water until the paint is dissolved.  Set this aside.
  • Have kids fill an empty glass jar with water, leaving about an inch of room left at the top.
  • Then, have them add a few drops of the paint- water mixture to the jar along with a squirt of dish soap and mix.  An eye dropper or old medicine dropper works really well for this
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
  • Seal the jar, and the fun can begin!
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
Kids will have a blast swirling the jar to create their glowing tornado
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
Rosie and Jewel loved experimenting with how they swirled the jar to see who could form the biggest vortex
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
After a bit of trial and error we found that the best tornado was produced when the jar was held and then shaken rapidly in a circular motion
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
My girls had lots of fun exploring with their glowing tornadoes, and of course we ended up making several- they just had to make a variety of colors!
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
This was a simple experiment that allowed my girls to visually explore tornadoes and how they form in a way that was safe.  Besides that, I mean come on?
Making a glowing tornado?
That's just plain fun!

The Science
How does the tornado form in the jar?
  • As you twist the jar the water inside is pulled due to gravity and friction. The fluid toward the inside of the jar takes longer to be pulled, but eventually both the glass jar and the fluid are spinning as you rotate the bottle. When you stop rotating the jar the fluid inside keeps spinning, creatng a vortex just like a tornado. Read more on how the tornado forms inside the jar.
How does the tornado in a jar represent a real tornado?
AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!

Books to pair with this experiment
A wide selection of books to go along with this experiment can be found on Amazon here.
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MORE FUN ACTIVITIES
TO TRY:
RAINBOW NOODLES FOR KIDS- recipes, ideas, and ways to play!
FUN KID PROJECT:  Make your own play sand (A great activity for Summer)
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AMAZING SCIENCE: Make a glowing tornado in a jar!
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