Wave in a bottle experiment

Wave in a bottle experiment

Explore the wonders of how nature works with wave in a bottle, a fun science experiment and learning game. Kids will discover how and why water behaves and will be amazed at the power of the natural world. Kick start a possible love of science with this project today.

What you need:

  • empty plastic bottle and cap
  • vegetable oil
  • water
  • food colouring

Number of players:


Wash a bottle and take off the label by soaking it in hot water.

Fill the bottle with 3/4 cup of water.

Add a few drops of food colouring.

Pour 1 cup of oil into the bottle.

Screw the cap on.

Roll the bottle on its side and let it settle for a few minutes.

The water will sink to the bottom and the oil will rise to the top.

Now tip the bottle back and forth and make some waves.

The waves will be bigger at one end of the bottle and smaller at the other.


Your bottle wave is like an ocean wave.

Water moves up and down and doesn’t go forward as the wave goes through the water.

The friction between water and wind makes a wave.

Longer waves travel faster than shorter ones and go further before friction makes them disappear.

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