After some exploratory play until all of our friends arrived, our Little Scientists got to work and each created a tornado in a bottle!
All you need to do for this simple and easy experiment is to fill almost three-quarters of a clean, empty, leak-free water bottle with water then add just a few drops of dish soap and a few pinches of glitter. Put the cap back on tightly, turn the bottle upside, and start to draw circles in one direction with the bottom of the bottle (now facing upwards). As you spin, spin, spin the bottle, look at the centre of the bottle: you've created a little water tornado! (This may take a few tries but don't give up!)
Spinning the bottle in a circular motion creates a water vortex that looks like a mini tornado. The water is rapidly spinning around the center of the vortex due to centripetal force (an inward force directing an object or fluid such as water towards the center of its circular path). Vortexes found in nature include tornadoes, hurricanes and waterspouts (a tornado that forms over water).
– from sciencekids.co.nz
Little Scientists is a monthly momstown program geared for 2-6 year olds as a means to experiment, discovery, learn and get messy!