Tornado in a Bottle (Two Ways)

Good evening scientists! We couldn’t resist squeezing an experiment in before bedtime. Try it with your little one and you will be glad you did.

MaterialsTornado in a Bottle (16)

Two 2-Liter Bottles


Food Dye

Duct Tape


Tornado in a Bottle Using Two 2-Liters:

  1. Fill a 2-liter bottle about 1/2 way up with water. Add 5-10 drops of food coloring.Tornado in a Bottle (20)
  2. Place the second 2-liter top on the first one’s top. Duct tape the bottle tops together tightly. Add several layers of duct tape until the bottles no longer free loose. **Make sure you press the duct tape firmly down and that it is tight or it will spill**
  3. Flip the bottles and spin the top bottle with a circular motion. Set the bottles on a table and watch the tornado.

    Tornado in a Single Bottle: Want to make another type of tornado in a bottle? Try it with one smaller bottle. **It is a lot harder to get the tornado to form with only one bottle, but we had a great time with trying**

Talking Points

Tornadoes are not made of water like in our investigation, but instead are formed when wind circulates violently from thunderstorm clouds down to the surface of Earth.

A vortex (commonly called whirlpools) occurs when water is rotated or circles around an opening and falls through. In our case the vortex occurred because when we swirled the top bottle, the water started to circulate and it drops down through the bottle’s top into the second bottle. This results in what looks like a tornado in a bottle.

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