Make a Tornado in a Jar!

Materials Needed:

  • 1 Jar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • Optional – glitter, small objects, food coloring, etc
  • Flat surface


  1. Fill the jar with water. Make sure to leave an inch of space at the top.
  2. Pour the dish soap into the water.
  3. Pour the vinegar into the water.
  4. Close the lid of the jar. Double check that it’s screwed on tightly!
  5. Place one hand on top of the jar and one on the bottom of the jar. 
  6. When your hands are in position, swirl the jar for five seconds.
  7. Then, set it down on a flat surface and watch your very own tornado in a jar!

Scientific Explanation:

When you are doing this experiment, you create a vortex by spinning the jar of water. A vortex is the motion of the fluid swirling rapidly around a center. As you swirl the jar, centripetal force causes the spinning water to surround the vortex, making a mini tornado! If you would like to learn more about tornadoes and how they form, watch the video below!

Instructions courtesy of

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