Tornado in a Jar

Activity for ages 3 and up.

When it comes to kids’ science, it doesn’t get much simpler than making a tornado in a jar. This five minute activity uses just two common household ingredients and has a big wow factor. Easy and exciting. Gotta’ love that kind of kids’ science!!

Make a Tornado in a Jar

To whip up our mini tornado,  we grabbed a clean mason jar and our ingredients:

  • 3 cups of tap water
  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Glitter or other small objects {optional}

We filled the mason jar with water – making sure to leave about an inch of space at the top. Then we poured in the dish soap and vinegar and closed the lid. {I gave the cap a double check just to make sure that our tornado wouldn’t get free and make a big mess.}

Holding one hand on top and one below, we swirled the jar for about 5 seconds and then set it down on the table to watch the tornado do its thing. So simple and easy.

To add some extra wow, try adding glitter or mini Legos to the jar.

The Science Behind It

When you spin the water in the jar, it creates a vortex in the center. As the water spins, centripetal force causes the water to spin around that vortex making a mini tornado. {Hurricanes have a vortex too.}

More Kids’ Science

Grab our Super Cool Science Kit including 22 jaw dropping science experiments and awesome follow up observation sheets for young scientists.

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17 Comments

  1. Anna

    I love all of your science activities. My mom is a preschool teacher and when I tell her about these projects she does them in her classroom. Thank you for giving the teachers some great ideas!

    Reply
    • Ashley

      You are very welcome! I’m sure your mom appreciates all of your help!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  2. Akshara

    Hai I like all your experiments it’s cool

    Reply
    • Ashley

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying them!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  3. tiya

    i like those ideas thank you.

    Reply
    • Ashley

      You are very welcome, Tiya!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  4. Alex Lotze

    I love all of these ideas! I am starting a virtual science experiment club next week with my school and I’m finding so many ideas from your blog. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Awesome, Alex!
      Hope your students enjoy 🙂
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  5. Richard Simmons

    I did not see any results and I did it twice, swirling it for 5 seconds. I did it in two different mason jars too! I don’t know what i’m doing wrong.

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Hi Richard,
      I’m so sorry you’re not seeing the results. Please be sure you added the vinegar to the water. This really makes a difference in being able to see the tornado.
      Hope that helps!
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply
  6. Jaden

    Doesn’t work as well with Palmolive dish soap. Worked better with the cheaper stuff.

    Reply
    • Ashley

      Good to know. Thanks for sharing the tip, Jaden.
      Warmly,
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      Reply

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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!

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