With the Kids

Surf’s Up with Wave Jars

Surf’s up in these fun Wave Jars that you can make with the kids. You will find out that oil and water just dont mix and it’s a good thing. It is fun to discover things in science. I never liked science until I became a teacher and realized science was fun in Kindergarten. But in college, not so much.


Making a Wave Jar is fun and great for kids to help with. I will show you how to make a Wave Jar that tries to mix oil and water, but how it will never happen.

Supplies needed:


  • one empty plastic bottle with a lid – any size.
  • water
  • oil – vegetable oil works great.
  • food coloring – any color.
  • glue – white school glue.
  • optional: small trinkets – they will float and add character, stickers

First fill your empty plastic bottle 2/3 full of water. Then, add 3-4 drops of food coloring to the bottle. It will color the water, but not the oil. If you want it to look like the ocean, a real wave jar, use blue food coloring. Then, pour in some oil until the level is 1 inch from the top.

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Now you can add any trinkets that you want to give it some pizzazz. Put in small crafty stuff had around the house. A button, sequence, beads, marbles, anything that won’t dissolve in water. In our jars, I placed an animal sticker to a popsicle stick as if it was surfing. (I found out after, that the sticker will not stay on, so the object must be hot-glued. Our surfer had a wipe-out!)

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Next, pour some glue around the neck of the bottle and a little in around the cap. Then screw it on tight. Let it dry, but it can be played with carefully until it dries (how can it not be played with right away!).

We also added our stickers here. They are foam stickers that have water animals. The side of the bottle was sticky from the wrapping of the label, so we added foam stickers to that side.


Now, test it out and see if that oil will mix with the colored water. It never will, even if you shake it really really hard, we tried. It just gets really bubbly, but always turns back to normal.

Have fun with science and get your kids involved!


  1. I remember making these. I’ll have to find a bottle and make one with my son. Cute. Need food coloring…lol. Maybe I’ll have to go to the store now or use some Kool-Aid.

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