Make Your Own Tornado

We were under a tornado warning for almost 2 straight hours last night with the sirens blaring about a half-dozen times. Living in tornado alley, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence during spring evenings. But after seeing the devastation in Joplin a few weeks ago, there is no way that I will ever take a tornado warning lightly again.

To ease a bit of the tension from last night, Big Brother and I made our very own tornado using 2-liter bottles (idea from here)!

Here’s what you’ll need:  2 2-liter bottles, duct tape, and water. If you want it to be drip-free, I would suggest a Tornado Tube. Otherwise, it will drip a little bit. Also, you can add food coloring and glitter (for debris), but I wouldn’t suggest doing so unless you have a tornado tube as it will leak.

(Omit the food coloring unless you are using a tornado tube)

1. Fill one 2-liter bottles up about 2/3 with water.
2. Place the other bottle on top, lining up the openings  as best you can.

2. Duct tape the two bottles together as tightly as possible (it will still leak a little bit).

Take it outside (because it leaks) and turn it upside down (so that the water is in the top bottle). Spin counter-clockwise.

Watch your tornado form and repeat!

 If you have an older child interested in learning about tornadoes, go here for more information on how/why they form.

Literature Link

Tornado Alert (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

Tornado Alert by Franklyn M. Branley

This book explains tornadoes so that even preschoolers can understand. Gives young children an understanding of tornadoes, the danger involved, and how to stay safe.


  1. Great minds think alike! Two nights ago our sirens went off and as we were sitting in the basement trying to ease our sons' worries, I was trying to think of a way to explain tornadoes to him! This is the perfect experiment to safely show him what a tornado looks like! Thanks for sharing, Jenae!!

  2. My 4yo is curious about tornadoes, but I'm afraid that book would scare her. I want her to be able to understand but not have nightmares about it or be very frightened whenever we have a storm. I'll have to see if our library has it, so that I can read it & evaluate.

  3. My 3 year old is weather obsessed. :) We especially love the Cat and the Hat Knows a Lot About That – All About Weather book. He is already properly using terms like "condensation" and "climate."
    Also, have you seen – they have a page of weather experiments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *