Jar Tornado – Experiment At Home

If you want to learn about the weather, then this tornado science experiment is a fun way to simulate what a tornado vortex is like in a nutshell – or rather in a jar or bottle.

You will need:

  • A Jar/Bottle
  • Water
  • Washing Up Liquid
  • Blue Food Colouring/Blue Glitter
  • Vinegar (Optional)

Method:

  • 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!
  • After you’ve stopped swirling, the tornado will start to fade, though you’ll be left with a pretty jar/bottle full of coloured/glittered water – and it’s as simple as that!

The Science Bit:
As the water in the jar is swirled around, it is forced to the outer side of the jar/bottle. Because of that, the air inside is left to rotate in the middle, creating the shape of a tornado. The peculiar shape is formed because of the gravity acting against the water. This is similar to how real world tornadoes are formed, except usually they are composed of both hot and cold air that spin at a very high speed!

This 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!