Tornado in a Jar

Last week my family and I went to a community science night at a local college, and they were passing out  free books to all the kids.  My son picked out a book called Twisters! and has been enthralled in reading this book.  So we thought it would be fun to make our own tornado in a jar.


  • Jar
  • Butter knife
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)


Fill the jar three-quarters full of water and add 1 teaspoon of dish soap and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.

Add a few drops of food coloring.  Adding color always makes it more fun right?

Then add some glitter for more added fun.

Close the lid and shake to mix all the ingredients together.

Finally, swirl the jar around to create a tornado.  We did this, however the tornado that we created would only last for a few seconds. I couldn’t even get a picture.  I was determined to get a better tornado out of this, so I stumbled onto this site, which recommended using a butter knife to swirl the water around quickly to form the tornado.  We got a much better tornado doing it this way.


We also decided to try using a taller vase and seeing what sort of tornado we could get.


We definitely created a much better vortex and the kids preferred this tornado over the smaller jar.

If you like this weather activity…check out the rainstorm we created!