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Tornados are a dangerous force of nature but this one is safe. Make and observe your very own tornado inside a jar.
Your experiment will keep for weeks. Just shake it up whenever you’re in the mood to see your tornado.
Kaitlyn and dad had lots of fun playing with their tornado once it was done and I caught Darren playing with it in the kitchen weeks after we did it the first time.
What you need:
- clear plastic or glass jar with a lid
- A mason jar would work well but we used a pickle jar.
- dish soap
- OPTIONAL: glitter, small pieces of tin foil.
- OPTIONAL: Printable: Bottled Tornado Experiment
- OPTIONAL: Printable: Tornado in a Bottle Activity
- OPTIONAL: Printable: Tornado Facts Sheet
- Fill jar with water
- Add 1 or two drops of dish soap to the jar
- Shake the jar and observe.
(You may have to shake the jar a few different ways to find out what works best for you. We found that holding the jar upright and shaking in a counter clockwise circular fashion worked best for us.)
- Record what you see.
- What do you think happened?
- What do you think will happen if you add some glitter or small bits of tin foil to the jar? Give it a try.
Shaking the jar in a circular fashion creates a vortex inside the jar. That is what a tornado is...a vortex.
Learn more about tornados on our facts page.
A few more printables: