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Waves in a jar

At the Otago Museum they’re going crazy about the ocean. Take a look at this great activity where you can make your own ocean waves!


  • a jar with a lid
  • blue or green food colouring
  • water
  • vegetable oil


  1. Fill your jar halfway with water and add as much food colouring as you like.
  2. Fill the rest of the container up as much as possible with vegetable oil.
  3. Put the lid on tightly.
  4. Tilt the jar and see the waves grow!

When you move the jar, you’re seeing energy move through the water, making waves, just
like on the beach! Outside a jar though, wind blowing on the water’s surface creates energy
to make waves.

If you want to see the weird and wonderful things that were in the oceans when the dinosaurs were on the land, come down to Otago Museum and visit our Sea Monsters exhibition; hands-on touchable and immersive fun for kids, with real fossils that are millions of years old, gigantic ocean predator casts and you can even draw your own sea monster and watch it swim around the gallery walls!

Plan a trip to Dunedin this summer and visit Otago Museum’s Sea Monsters exhibition!


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