Objective: Simple sensory play for exploring volcanoes and incorporating chemistry. This can be used as a fun sensory STEAM activity for kids, and even for a Dinosaur theme!
- Air dry clay
- Red liquid watercolor (or food coloring)
- Brown acrylic paint
- Red acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
- Squeeze bottles
- Plastic tray
- Clear acrylic spray (optional)
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Old marker caps
Building the Clay Volcano
1. Hand a small clump of the clay to the kids and have them roll it into a ball. This is great for fine motor skills and really gives them a hands-on sensory experience.
2. Have them hold the ball into the air and drop onto the table. Splat! This creates the cone shape volcano. Everyone’s volcano can look a little different. We had tall thin ones, ones with a larger base, etc. It’s more about the fun process and them learning along the way than the look of the final product.
3. Upcycling: Reuse old marker caps and place them on the ball with the large opening facing up. You could also use empty K-cups or even mouthwash bottle caps.
4. Hand the kids more clumps of the clay to pinch in small clumps around the marker lids. Remind them not to fill in the hole on the top, as this is where the volcano will erupt.
5. Once the mini volcano has been formed, allow to dry overnight. If the clay is still really cold to the touch, then it’s not dry yet. Placing the volcanos on a metal rack or in front of a fan will help improve air flow and speed up the drying process.
Painting the Volcano
1. Once dried, have the kids paint the flat bottom (underneath) of the mini volcano with brown acrylic paint. The acrylic paint will act as a shield and protect the clay when creating the science experiment of erupting this later on.
2. Continue to paint the volcano with brown acrylic paint until completely covered and allow to dry. To make sure there isn’t any uncoated clay, you can spray all sides of the volcano with clear acrylic spray. This part should be done by an adult in a well ventilated area.
3. Once dry, allow the kids to drip red acrylic paint from the top of the volcano. They can do this directly from the bottle or with paint pipettes. If the acrylic paint is too thick to drip, mix in small amounts of water until you get the right consistency. This becomes their very own lava!
1. Here’s where the real fun begins. When all of the paint is dried, place the mini volcano on a plastic container. Kids can scoop spoonfuls of baking soda into the tops of their volcano.
2. In a squeeze bottle, mix white vinegar and red liquid watercolor or food coloring.
3. You can talk about the chemical reactions between baking soda and vinegar. You can also discuss what lava is or where volcanoes are located around the world. What volcano is closest to where you live?
4. Let the kids squeeze in the vinegar mixture into the top of their volcano and watch it erupt with lava! Super exciting!!
- 10 ml of dish soap
- 100 ml of warm water
- 400 ml of white vinegar
- Food coloring
- Baking soda slurry (fill a cup about ½ with baking soda, then fill the rest of the way with water)
- Empty 2 liter soda bottle
NOTE: This should be done outside due to the mess.
- Combine the vinegar, water, dish soap and 2 drops of food coloring into the empty soda bottle.
- Use a spoon to mix the baking soda slurry until it is all a liquid.
- Eruption time! … Pour the baking soda slurry into the soda bottle quickly and step back!
WATCH THE QUICK AND EASY VIDEO TUTORIAL!
How it Works:
A chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda creates a gas called carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the same type of gas used to make the carbonation in sodas. What happens if you shake up a soda? The gas gets very excited and tries to spread out. There is not enough room in the bottle for the gas to spread out so it leaves through the opening very quickly, causing an eruption!
1. Does the amount of vinegar change the eruption?
2. Does the amount of water change the eruption?
3. Does the amount of baking soda change the eruption?
This volcano project uses all four of our primary senses – smell, touch, sight, and hearing. You can tell by using these four senses that this is not something you want to eat, so we won’t be using our sense of taste in this project! But we’ll be able to smell the vinegar, touch the volcano as we put it together with paper mache and paint, we’ll see the bubbling explosion, and we can hear the fizzing once the vinegar mixes with the baking soda. Get ready for an extravaganza of the senses! Volcano explosion!
To build your volcano, you will need:
- An empty two litre soda bottle
- A plate or something circular to trace for a perfect circle
- Glue gun
- Aluminium foil
- Masking tape
- Paper towel tubes x4
- Paper towel
- Craft paint: brown, black, grey, and green
- White glue
- Three bottle caps
How to put it together:
1. Building the shape:
- Trace a large plate or something circular onto a piece of cardboard. This will be the base of your volcano!
- Then cut out the circular cardboard shape. Cover the bottom side of the volcano with aluminum foil and tape it down with masking tape. This will help keep the cardboard dry so you can use your volcano over and over again.
- Place the empty two litre soda bottle at the centre of the base and hot glue it into place with a glue gun. Glue three bottle caps to the base of the volcano. The three bottle caps will help keep the bottom of the volcano dry when the explosion happens!
- Cut out the four paper towel tubes in half lengthwise to make 8 halves. With masking tape, tape the bottom of one of the halved tubes to the edge of the base of the volcano, and tape the top of the halved tube to the top of the bottle.
- Continue taping the halved tubes around the bottle – start with four, than add the remaining strips in between.
- Once finished, reinforce the shape by wrapping tape around the bottom, centre and top. This will also make adding the paper mache easier.
2. Covering the surface:
- Make a paper mache glue paste (see below for recipe), and tear your newspaper into 2”x 3” strips. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue paste one piece at a time and squeeze out any excess by slipping the strips between your fingers. Apply the pieces onto the volcano by overlapping the edges.
- Once you’ve reached the bottom wrap the paper around the bottom edge. Leave to dry over night and store remaining glue paste in the fridge.
- For our second coat we used strong paper towel – some paper towels are stronger than others – it will dry strong and add a bit of texture for the final look. If you prefer a smooth finish, continue adding two more layers of paper maché with the newspaper strips, remembering to let it dry between layers. If you are using strong paper towels, use large pieces with straight edges. Dip the pieces into the glue paste and squeeze out the excess, as you did with the newspaper strips. Stretch large pieces first, then fill in smaller areas with smaller pieces. Leave creases for added texture. Once covered leave to dry over night or to speed up drying time use a hair dryer.
- For the final coat, paint on a mixture of water and white glue the consistency of shampoo. This will help seal the final layer and make the volcano more durable and reusable.
Glue Paste for Paper Maché (non toxic):
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups water
Mix one part flour to two parts water in a bowl with a whisk. Mix until all lumps are gone. Adjust mixture with more flour or water if necessary.
3. Decorating your volcano:
- Paint the volcano with your dark base colour, we used dark brown. Then dry brush your mid and light tones onto the surface. You can also glue on moss to look like tree tops!
Ingredients for the eruption:
- Four cups of warm water
- One squirt of dish soap
- Five drops red and yellow food colouring
- Four tbsp of baking soda
- 2/3 cups of white vinegar
- Tray or lined box to catch over spill
4. Setting up for the eruption:
- Place the volcano on a tray large enough to catch the spill from the eruption. Add warm water, dish soap, food colouring and baking soda in a bowl (a bowl with a spout work best!) ad mix together. Pour the mixture into the empty soda bottle inside your volcano by using a funnel. Then with the funnel in place, when you’re ready, add the vinegar and quickly remove the funnel to watch your volcano erupt!
Use your senses to hear, see, smell and touch all that is going on with your volcano you created! You can make the volcano erupt over and over for lots of sensory excitement!
For more activities and fun using your senses, visit Caitie’s Classroom for an episode all about the Five Senses!
Original content © 2019 Super Simple. Not to be reprinted without express written permission. Terms of Service.
Knowing through Exploring
Home » Articles » STEM » STEM Science » How to make a Homemade Volcano – STEM Science for Kids
Have you ever seen an erupting volcano? Well, you can now with this STEM science activity in which you are making your own volcano!
How do Volcanoes even form?
The Earth’s crust is made of tectonic plates, huge chunks of rock that constantly shift. Volcanoes mostly occur in areas where those plates connect. As those plates continue to shift, that friction melts Earth’s core and magma forms.
Molten magma creates pressure and, with time, it finds a way to the Earth’s surface through the volcano. That is called eruption and magma becomes lava.
That eruption can be simulated by chemical reaction and we will show you how you can do it.
What types of volcanoes exist?
When we talk about volcanoes, we usually think about those big mountains sprawling big cloud of smoke and lava. But scientists differentiate 3 types of volcanoes:
Cinder Cone Volcanoes
Cinder Cone Volcanoes are the simplest type of volcano. They grow from a single vent in the Earth’s crust and are rarely taller than 300 meters. Lava that is gas charged is blown violently out of the volcano and the pieces that fall down around the vent eventually build circular cone, with a bowl-shaped crater at the top.
Shield volcanoes are large, broad volcanoes that look like shields from the air – that is how they got their name. The lava that pours out is thin, so it can travel for great distances down the shallow slopes of the volcano. They build up slowly over time, with hundreds of eruptions which creates many layers.
Time after time, lava pours out of the vent, slides down the slopes of the volcano, and builds up the size. They rarely explode catastrophically. The best-known shield volcanoes are the ones that make up the Hawaiian Islands, especially Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea that have been created from thousands of lava flows.
Shield Volcanoes typically grow 5-10 km across and about 500 meters high. The largest shield volcano in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars and measures 27 km above the surface of Mars and spreads for 550 km in length.
Composite volcanoes are formed over hundreds of thousands of years through multiple eruptions. They are also called stratovolcanoes and they make up some of the world’s most famous (and most dangerous) mountains: Mount Fuji, Mount Rainier, and Mount Cotopaxi are just some of the examples.
Composite volcanoes are connected by a conduit system which taps into a reservoir of magma deep within the Earth. That magma can erupt from several vents across the composite volcano, or from a large central crater at the summit of the volcano.
They can grow thousands of meters tall and they were the cause of some of the most devastating eruptions in history like Mount St. Helens that left hundreds of people homeless.
Materials needed for building a volcano
If you want to see a video on how to make a homemade Volcano, there is one at the beginning of the article. Or continue reading and see the instructions below.
We recommend that you do this activity outside. You can use dirt or sand for making a great volcano and avoid making a mess at home. You can easily make it indoors if you choose so, but make it on some easily cleanable surface.
- Dirt or Playdough
- Little plastic bottle
- Baking soda
- Dishwashing liquid
- Bonus: Food coloring
Instructions for building a homemade volcano
- Cut the bottle with scissors or knife and take just the bottom part which we will use in the rest of the experiment.
- Shape playdough or dirt around that bottle so it resembles a volcano. Here you can find out how to make a homemade playdough.
- Put a few spoons of baking soda into the bottle/volcano.
- Put a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
- If you want, you can put a few drops of food coloring.
- Finally, pour quickly some vinegar and enjoy the eruption!
What will you develop and learn?
- What is a volcano and how does it work
- Chemical reactions
- Fine and gross motor skills
- That science is fun!
If you’re looking for more fun science experiments we recommend you check out How to make a Lava Lamp for another amazing effect, and How to make Homemade Rocket so you can use those vinegar and baking soda leftovers from making the volcano.
If you’re searching for some great STEM Activities for Kids and Child development tips, you’re in the right place! Check the Categories below to find the right activity for you.
Videos, guides and explanations about STEM Science in a step-by-step way with materials you probably already have at your home. Find new Science ideas.
Videos, guides and explanations about STEM Technology in a step-by-step way with materials you probably already have at your home. Find new Technology ideas.
Videos, guides and explanations about STEM Engineering in a step-by-step way with materials you probably already have at your home. New Engineering ideas!
Videos, guides and explanations about STEM Math in a step-by-step way with materials you probably already have at your home. Find new Mathematics ideas.
Find out all about development psychology topics that you always wanted to know. Here are articles from child psychology and development psychology overall.
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Following a Child’s development every month from its birth. Personal experiences and tips on how to cope with challenges that you will face in parenting.
About Iva Leder
Big lover of technology and everything that has some form of code in it. She sees great potential in every child and her job is to find the right method to express that potential.
11 Ways To Make a Chemical Volcano Erupt
There are several ways to model volcanic eruptions using simple chemical reactions. Here’s a collection of some of the best chemical volcano recipes that you can use for a volcano demonstration or make just for fun.
Classic Baking Soda & Vinegar Volcano
Chances are if you have made a model volcano, this was how you did it. The baking soda and vinegar reaction is nice because it’s non-toxic and you can recharge your volcano to make it erupt again and again and again.
Yeast & Peroxide Volcano
The yeast and peroxide volcano is another safe choice for kids using common household ingredients. This volcano is a little foamier than the baking soda and vinegar variety. You can recharge this volcano, too.
Pro tip: Add a bit of dry ice to the volcano to make it smoke.
Mentos & Soda Eruption
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Michael Murphy/Wikimedia Commons
This fountain or volcanic eruption can be done with other candies and any type of carbonated beverage. If you use a diet soda or an unsweetened drink the resulting spray will be a lot less sticky.
This volcano glows blue under a black light. That doesn’t make it any more like a volcano than the other projects, except that lava is hot and glows. Glowing eruptions are cool.
This particular volcano erupts with smoke and fire, not lava. If you add iron or aluminum filings to the mixture, you can shoot a shower of sparks.
Ketchup & Baking Soda Volcano
The acetic acid in ketchup reacts with baking soda to produce an extra-special type of lava for a chemical volcano. This is a non-toxic volcano recipe that is sure to please.
Lemon Fizz Volcano
We colored this eruption blue, but you could just as easily make it red or orange. When you stop to think about it, you can react any acidic liquid with baking soda to create lava.
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Ben Mills/Wikimedia Commons
‘Vesuvian Fire’ is one name given to the classic tabletop chemical volcano made using ammonium dichromate. This is a spectacular demonstration, but chromium is toxic so this reaction is only carried out in the chemistry lab.
Color Change Chemical Volcano
This chemical volcano involves a color change of the ‘lava’ from purple to orange and back to purple. The volcano can be used to illustrate an acid-base reaction and the use of an acid-base indicator.
Pop Rocks Chemical Volcano
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You don’t have baking soda or vinegar to make a homemade chemical volcano? Here’s a simple 2-ingredient volcano using Pop Rocks candies to produce the eruption. If you use red or pink pop rocks, you’ll even get a nice color to the lava.
Sulfuric Acid & Sugar Ash Column
If you add a bit of sulfuric acid to sugar you’ll create a glowing column of hot black ash.
Step-By-Step Instructions for a Classic Science Fair Project
busypix / Getty Images
The baking soda and vinegar volcano is a classic science project that can help kids learn about chemical reactions and what happens when a volcano erupts. While it’s obviously not the real thing, this kitchen equivalent is cool all the same! The baking soda volcano is also non-toxic, which adds to its appeal—and it only takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Did You Know?
- The cool red lava is the result of a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar.
- In this reaction, carbon dioxide gas is produced, which is also present in real volcanoes.
- As the carbon dioxide gas is produced, pressure builds up inside the plastic bottle, until—thanks to the detergent—the gas bubbles out of the mouth of the volcano.
Volcano Science Project Materials
- 6 cups flour
- 2 cups salt
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- warm water
- plastic soda bottle
- dishwashing detergent
- food coloring
- baking dish or another pan
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
Make the Chemical Volcano
- Start by making the cone of your baking soda volcano by mixing 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil, and 2 cups of water. The resulting mixture should be smooth and firm (add more water if needed).
- Stand the soda bottle in the baking pan and mold the dough around it to form a volcano shape. Be sure not to cover the hole or drop dough inside the bottle.
- Fill the bottle most of the way full with warm water and a bit of red food coloring. (You can do this prior to sculpting the cone as long as you don’t take so long that the water gets cold.)
- Add 6 drops of detergent to the contents of the bottle. The detergent helps trap bubbles produced by the chemical reaction so you get better lava.
- Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the liquid in the bottle.
- Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle, and then watch out. It’s eruption time!
Experiment With the Volcano
While it’s fine for young explorers to tackle a simple model volcano, if you want to make the volcano a better science project, you’ll want to add the scientific method. Here are some ideas for different ways to experiment with a baking soda volcano:
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This fizzy science activity is a fun way for kids to engage independently in a small group activity. Fun and learning go together when activities are colorful, engaging, and hands-on. Be prepared for a little mess and a whole lot of fun with this mini volcano activity.
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Kids love making things that bubble and fizz. That’s why volcano activities are so popular.
A mini volcano activity is conducted in the same way as a regular sized kid-made volcano activity. The only difference is that a smaller sized container is used for the volcano.
Making smaller volcanoes is ideal for a small group activity, in an early learning classroom or at a birthday party, where each participant benefits from the hands-on interaction. Kids can choose colors and add ingredients for a personalized volcano.
A mini volcano is also a practical alternative when space is at a minimum.
A smaller size volcano doesn’t diminish the amount of fun or the benefits of experimentation and observation. Kids will love participating in the activity with their own supplies.
This activity is easy to set up with some recyclables and basic craft supplies.
Supplies for mini volcano
- transparent pudding snack pack container
- baking soda
- squeeze bottle
- washable kids paint or food coloring
- glue gun
- foam container
You can easily set up the activity with whatever containers you have on hand.
I recommend transparent containers so kids can watch the volcano bubbling from the bottom to the top!
Prepare the area where the activity will take place
Cover your table with a drop cloth, and protect clothing with cover-ups. Set out a large container to pour vinegar into after the volcanoes erupt in the small dishes. Then the experiment can be repeated.
Each participant should have a container filled with baking soda and a squeeze bottle for vinegar.
Prepare the containers that will become volcanoes
1. Cut a hole in the bottom of each container. This becomes the top opening of the volcano called a vent.
2. Spread glue on the narrow top edge of the container with a glue gun.
S ee-through containers allow for greater observation of the chemical process.
3. Press the glued edge into a foam dish or container. We separated a 5 inch (12 cm) hinged carry-out container which provided two dishes. These dishes will collect the lava when it erupts from the volcano.
4. Fill a squeeze bottle with vinegar.
5. Fill small containers with baking soda, one for each participant.
Create a volcano with kids
1. Add 5 or 6 spoonfuls of baking soda to opening in top of the volcano.
2. Add each child’s color choice to the vinegar bottles.
3. Squeeze vinegar over the soda.
Observe the lava flow!
The amount of ingredients can be adjusted to achieve the greatest lava flow.
Continue adding ingredients to repeat the experiment a few more times.
Kids can observe:
- the mixing of the ingredients as they are being added
- the chemical reaction inside the container forcing the liquid ‘lava’ to the top of the volcano
- the movement of the solution outside the container as it flows down the sides of the volcano
Trial and error
1. We tried dropping kids paint into the volcano with the soda before adding the vinegar. When the vinegar was added, the soda fizzed up without the paint colors.
2. We tried using kids eyedroppers to transfer the vinegar from a dish to the volcano but we couldn’t get a large enough quantity of vinegar at a time to result in a volcanic eruption.
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
This mini volcano is perfect with just one child at a time,or in a small group activity at home or in the classroom.
Preschoolers will benefit from exercising small motor, sensory and cognitive skills as they engage in the activity. And their interest in scientific observation will be increased as they explore and discover with a mini volcano!
take time to make creation .. and make weaponry from Paper, make a kite, and make a town from Paper .. this blog make all creation and make you so creatively ,
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Make a mini Volcano
Few kids can resist the allure of making a volcano in their own home. even if it is made out of simple things like clay and soda. Making a volcano is an ideal science experiment, homeschool or school project or just something to get the kids to do on a rainy day. And even the adults can have some fun making these, if you include the activity as a party game. This article presents various different ways to make a volcano––choose the one that seems the most interesting to you.
Things You’ll Need
(Items needed depend on method chosen; for more details see steps within each method.)
- Play-dough or flour, salt, water and cooking oil for making your own dough
- Pie tin or plastic container
- Suitably sized plastic bottle or soda can or container
- Red, orange, pink, brown, or green food coloring
- Liquid dish soap
- Baking soda
- Wax paper
Clay and bottle volcano
1.) Form the bottom of the volcano. Purchase clay, or make your own salt dough/play dough or clay.
2.) Get a clean 15 ounce soda or water bottle, and place it in the center of the base.
3.) Build the clay up around the bottle, making sure to press the clay firmly around the base of it. Take care not to get any other materials around or inside the mouth of the bottle.
4.) In a small sink, add baking soda to the bottle using a funnel. Adding both together in a bowl will produce bubbles in a bowl, not a volcano.
5.) Place the funnel in the mouth of the bottle and pour in the vinegar, then stand back! Alternatively, if you want another way to make it erupt, put Pepsi or diet coke in the bottle then drop either two or three Mentos.
Clay and soda can volcano
2.) Put a soda can on the center of the volcano. If you have a large base, you can use a larger can.
3.) Mold the clay from the base to the top of the can. Remove the can.
4.) Leave for one hour or until dry.
5.) Color some vinegar with red food coloring.
6.) Pour it into the volcano.
7.) Take baking powder and pour it on a square of toilet paper or paper towel.
8.) Fold up the toilet paper/paper towel. Keep it closed with rubber bands.
9.) Drop the baking soda roll in the vinegar.
10.) Step away. Once the paper dissolves, your volcano will explode.
This season marks three years ago that we tried an awesome pumpkin volcano science experiment! Baking soda makes for one of the best and easiest science experiments for the beginner or young scientist! You can build so many themes around this basic science activity. This season we are making a mini volcano from mini pumpkins!
ERUPTING MINI VOLCANOS FOR FALL SCIENCE
Let’s get started making mini volcanos with our smaller pumpkins! You only need a few easy to find supplies for this cool fall science experiment! Also, this would make a perfect, group activity for a class, party, or play date!
Did you know you can even make slime in a pumpkin ? It’s super cool and kids love it. We have quite a few pumpkin STEM activities this season for you to try!
YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT: Erupting Ghost Pumpkin for Halloween
BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR
Kids and adults are amazed by a fizzy baking soda and vinegar science experiments, especially our mini pumpkin volcanos below!
I have done so many of these baking soda science experiments , but I never tire of watching the bubbling, erupting, fizzing action. Mini pumpkin volcanos are simple science and perfect for showing a true chemical reaction .
Plus, you can explore states of matter with solids (baking soda and the pumpkin too), liquids (vinegar), and gasses (carbon dioxide)!
How does a baking soda and vinegar reaction work? Simple, when an acid
These pumpkins are great for creating mini volcanos because we have carved out a small cavity and opening, the eruption comes up and out of the mini pumpkin like a volcano!
Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges?
We have you covered…
Click here to get your free Pumpkin STEM challenges!
MINI PUMPKIN VOLCANO EXPERIMENT
- Mini pumpkins
- Baking Soda
- Dish soap
- Food coloring
- Spoon, baster, and/or measure cup
- Tray to catch the mess!
Good Tip: have lots of vinegar and baking soda on hand for this experiment!
HOW TO SET UP PUMPKIN VOLCANOS
STEP 1: To make your mini pumpkin volcanos, start by cutting out the stem area as you would carve a Jack O’Lantern. Keep the opening on the small side as that makes the eruption more interesting.
I cleaned out some of the seeds, but didn’t go crazy getting every last one!
STEP 2: Place your mini pumpkin volcanos on some sort of tray or lid to a plastic storage container.
Since we used three pumpkins, I opted for a bigger tray. This can get a bit messy, but that’s part of the fun! If the weather is still nice, take the experiment outside!
STEP 3: Add a few spoonfuls of baking soda to each pumpkin. Then add a few drops of dish soap and lastly add a few drops of food coloring if desired!
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO CHECK OUT: Pumpkin Investigation Tray
STEP 4: Get ready for mini exploding volcanos! Pout vinegar into a bowl and provide your kids with eye droppers, basters, or small measuring cups.
Watch the fun! You can repeat the process over and over with more vinegar and more baking soda. The dish soap gives the eruption a foamy appearance.
Make sure to explore the pumpkin volcanos thoroughly. They also make a cool tactile sensory experience!
PUMPKIN VOLCANO CLEAN UP
Clean up is simple for this pumpkin volcano fall science experiment, rinse everything down the sink or hose off outside! I rinsed out the pumpkins and want to save them to try again in a day or two. We ran out of vinegar while we were still having fun with our mini pumpkin volcanos!
MORE FUN PUMPKIN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS!
- Pumpkin Art Activities
MINI PUMPKIN VOLCANOS FOR COOL KITCHEN SCIENCE
Check out the complete collection of pumpkin STEM activities! We also include book choices to pair with activities!
When you think about an elementary school science project, what is the first thing that comes to mind? A baking soda volcano! I remember making one out of salt dough and painting it to look awesome and then being amazed when I got to watch it erupt.
My boys have had a major case of “I’m Bored” syndrome since school has been out so today I decided to make an easy baking soda volcano. No salt dough or painting involved. Just some simple supplies that you probably have around the house.
Easy Baking Soda Volcano
- Paper plate
- Paper or plastic cup
- aluminum foil
- large cookie sheet
- 2 TBLS water
- red food coloring
- 2 TBLS Baking soda
- 4 TBLS White Vinegar
Step 1: Tape the cup to the center of the paper plate.
Step 2: Cover the cup and plate with a piece of foil and fold the foil around all of the edges of the plate.
Step 3: Cut an X in the top of the foil and fold down the tabs and tape them to the inside of the cup.
Step 4: Put your volcano in the center of a large cookie sheet and add the water, baking soda and several drops of red food coloring into the cup.
Step 5: Slowly pour in the vinegar.
Step 6: Watch your volcano erupt again and again. My boys continued to make the volcano erupt until we were out of vinegar and baking soda. And as soon as I buy more, I’m sure they’ll be at it again.
This is a great simple science project because it is easy to do and easy to explain. I told my boys a little about what an acid and a base is and that the “eruption” is what happens in an acid/base reaction. The chemical reaction between baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) produces carbon dioxide gas, which forms bubbles, making the volcano erupt.
Simple, yet fascinating to little kids.
If your kids love simple science projects and liked this baking soda volcano, they would love our post on Growing Crystals.
What are you doing to keep “I’m Bored” syndrome away at your house?
Watching a homemade volcano erupt is a very exciting experience for young children as they watch and learn about the amazing power of these geological formations.
Making your own homemade volcano is really simple and requires basic material that you can find around the home.
Recently after reading a non-fiction book about volcanoes and earth quakes, it aroused an interest particularly about volcanoes with Miss 4 and 5. There was a number of questions and some misconceptions so we went on to explore these questions and then onto making our own homemade volcano.
What you will need?
You will need an empty plastic bottle (this is 1 litre bottle), newspaper torn up in strips, PVA craft glue, masking tape and a container for the water and glue mixture.
To make the lava to mimic that of a real volcano you will need bicarbonate soda, red and yellow food colouring (or orange) and white vinegar.
To make the basic shape of a volcano I cut the middle of the plastic bottle out and then overlapped the two ends together securing it with masking tape. To give the volcano a more pyramid/mountain shape I then rolled newspaper into a tube shape and wrapped it around the base of the plastic bottle and securing it all with masking tape.
Time to get messy: applying Paper Mache to our volcano using small strips of newspaper dipped into a gluey water mixture. We also folded a small amount of newspaper into the opening of the bottle but making sure there was enough room to add our bicarbonate soda and vinegar later.
Tip – keep an old towel handy for the kids to wipe their hands on.
While we were waiting for the paint to dry we had a practice run to see how much bicarbonate soda and vinegar would be needed for the homemade volcano. To give you a bit of an idea, we used 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate soda and 1 cup of vinegar mixed with some red and yellow food dye.
When the Paper Mache was dry, Miss 4 and 5 set to work to paint the volcano. We had watched a few videos on You Tube about volcanos and it was decided that the volcano needed to be black, dark grey and a little bit of brown.
Sifting the bicarbonate soda into the funnel and about to pour in the vinegar…..you have to be super quick to get the funnel out. Miss 5 was standing by ready to grab it after Miss 4 poured in the vinegar.
Our homemade volcano fizzing and frothing as the bicarbonate soda and vinegar react together.
Making a homemade volcano is a fun and simple process that kids will take on a sense of pride, ownership and achievement of what they have accomplished. All this while learning new things and practicing some basic skills with an almighty eruption at the end. We repeated the eruption 3 times!
Some Simple Facts About Volcanoes
- A volcano is a mountain that erupts.
- Rock under the earth’s surface is so hot that it melts. This melted rock is called magma.
- Erupting magma is called lava.
- Volcanoes become bigger every time they erupt as the lava cools and makes a new layer of rock.
- Volcanoes can erupt under water and form new islands from the cooled lava.
- Volcanoes can be found on the moon and other planets.
- There are more than 500 active volcanoes on Earth.
More Play Ideas
As a result of this activity, my kids were very intrigued about how bicarbonate soda and vinegar react together – Here is an activity to extend this learning through making Homemade Honeycomb. Click on the image to see the full post!
When you think of great science experiments for kids one of the first that springs to mind is probably a baking soda volcano and vinegar volcano. I remember making one with my little brother in the kitchen when he was about 4 or 5. Baking soda volcanoes and coke floats were our favourite summer activities.
You might also like our 10 science experiments every child should try at least once with a free printable checklist to work through.
A baking soda volcano eruption is a fantastic first demonstration of a chemical reaction as the ingredients are safe ( although do wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from vinegar )
Why does a baking soda and vinegar reaction happen?
If you combine an acid and an alkali they react together to neutralise each other. Vinegar is an acid and bicarbonate of soda is an alkali.
The reaction releases carbon dioxide gas, which is the bubbles you see. If you add washing up liquid ( dish soap ) to your eruption mix the bubbles make the washing up liquid bubble up, giving the appearance of lava erupting from a volcano.
How to make a baking soda volcano
What you need to make a baking soda volcano
Basically you need the ingredients for the volcano eruption, a jar or small bottle for the eruption to happen in and something to use as the volcano part.
Volcano – sand, snow, modroc etc
Small jar or bottle
Red food colouring
I don’t usually measure an exact amount of each, but a good dollop of baking soda, a squirt of dish soap and a bit of red food colouring mixed with a little water should give you a good eruption. If it doesn’t, add a bit more baking soda.
If you want to make a very quick and easy baking soda volcano a sand volcano is a good option, or a snow volcano !
Volcano Experiment Extension Ideas
What happens if you don’t use the dish soap? Can you predict what might happen before trying it?
What happens if you add extra dish soap?
Volcano Experiment Extra Challenges
Can you think of an acidic fruit you could use to make an baking soda volcano eruption without adding vinegar?
Create a papier mache volcano? We love this version from Red Ted Art.
Design a multicoloured volcano? We split our jar in half and poured yellow food colouring into one half and red into the other for this.
What’s your favourite baking soda volcano to make?
What is a volcano?
A volcano is a mountain that contains a magma ( rock so hot it has turned into a liquid ) chamber. The magma chamber is filled with liquid rock. If enough pressure builds inside the chamber the volcano can explode shooting the magma from the top! When magma is on the surface of the Earth we call it lava! This is a volcanic eruption and can cause a lot
Make a model of a famous volcano
Another idea is to make a model of a famous volcano. In my book This Is Rocket Science one of the activities is to make a baking soda Olympus Mons. It’s a great way to learn about chemical reactions, volcanoes and Mars!!
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Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by Emma Vanstone
September 4, 2019
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Learn how to make a volcano in just a few simple steps. This cool volcano experiment for kids will leave everyone amazed.
How to make a volcano
Whether you love doing science experiments at home or the kids have one for a homework assignment, this easy volcano experiment will be a blast for everyone. This outdoor volcano experiment is so fun but also a great way to learn at the same time.
I love when we can do things together that are fun and learn new things as well. Plus, we are making lasting memories.
The kids will be super impressed with how this volcano erupts while learning how science works. You only need a few things to make a volcano.
We are all about keeping things simple and this is one of our favorite volcano project ideas. Once you try it, you will see how fun and easy it is.
Let’s get started with this volcano experiment!
This is so fun and everyone will enjoy this easy volcano experiment. We can’t wait to hear all about how your volcano turned out.
Learn how to make a volcano step by step that is easy and fun!
You only need a few simple ingredients to do this cool experiment. No fancy ingredients or complicated instructions here.
We are all about easy and frugal. Each of these ingredients are common household things you likely already have in the kitchen.
If not, they are inexpensive to pick up and make completing this project so easy.
What do you need to make a volcano?
- Used and Empty Water Bottle with the top cut off
- 1 cup Water
- 4 Tablespoons of Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon of Dish Soap
- Food Coloring of your Choice
- 1 cup of Vinegar
How do you make a volcano explode?
- Cut the neck off of the top of the water bottle.
- Place the water bottle on the location where the eruption will occur. I used a jelly roll pan and covered it in foil first for easy clean up but you can also do this experiment outside so clean up is even easier!
- Put the water, baking soda, dish soap and food coloring of your choice in the water bottle. Gently mix these ingredients so that they are combined.
- Next have the kids gather around the water bottle to get ready for the experiment.
- Next, use a separate cup to add the vinegar to the water bottle ingredients and watch the eruption that occurred.
- This experiment is quick and easy that the kids can easily take turns creating their own.
Now you know how to make a volcano erupt with baking soda!
This is one of our favorite science experiments and a great way to learn about the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar. Kids will love learning how a real volcano works.
Everyone will love this volcano experiment for kids.
We used a water bottle but you could use a soda bottle as well. The kids had a blast making this and the entire process.
It is simple enough where you can make several if you have multiple children. They will love getting to to choose what type of food coloring they want.
Use anything you like. Kids can choose red food coloring, pink, green or whatever you want!
As far as making the volcano shape, use whatever you prefer. You can make a paper mache as the base for painting the volcano.
Another idea that would be easy is modeling clay. Just use what you already have on hand and keep it simple.
Now you know how to make a volcano erupt!
Everyone will enjoy watching this volcano erupt. Get the kids involved in the volcano experiment explanation and turn this into a creative learning activity.
This is such a great idea to try for school, home school, school projects and more. I love that is so inexpensive and easy to make.
If this is a school project, you can easily try it out at home before taking it to school. The supplies are not expensive and it only takes a few minutes to make this.
You can’t go wrong with this project. Make sure to come back and leave a comment so we know how your fun volcano experiment turned out.
If you have any tips or tricks for decorating the volcano, be sure to share in the comments as well.
Get started making memories and learning cool new things when you try these fun activities and ideas. No need to spend tons of money or time putting together complicated activities for your children and family.
I really think the simpler the better. Kid’s just want to spend time with us and some of the best memories are the simplest ones.
Get started making sweet memories with your family today! I bet they will look back and always remember when Mom or Dad helped them make a really cool volcano.
You might also like to make this Color Changing Homemade Playdough Recipe. Take playdough to the next level when you make this super cool color changing playdough recipe.
We have a blast trying new things and there is always something going on around here. From crafts and DIY ideas, our family has so much fun making and trying new things.
Everyone will have a blast making these 25 Shrinky Dink ideas that are easy to make.
We have over 30 indoor activities for kids that are fun, easy and perfect for the family.
You don’t have to wait for your child’s science fair to make an erupting paper-mache volcano. Making one at home out of paper-mache is fun for the whole family. Paper-mache is a technique you use to create shapes out of shredded paper—typically newspaper—and glue. Paper-mache glue, also called paste, is a basic mixture of flour and water. The glue is used as a wash over the layers of paper to hold it in place as it hardens into a specific shape. While there are two types of paper-mache glue—cooked and no-cook—this project works best with no-cook glue.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Small paper cup
- Small funnel
- Stirring utensil
- Cardboard or a round cardboard cake tray measuring about 2 feet in diameter
- Small paper cup or small water bottle
- Masking tape
- Paper-mache paste
- Various colors of acrylic paint
- 1 Tablespoon Warm water
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Red food coloring
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Baking soda
- White distilled vinegar
Make the Base
Make a base for the bottle or cup by crumpling a mound of newspaper into the approximate size of a hamburger on a bun. Tape it down on the center of the cardboard or cake tray. Using masking tape, secure the bottle or cup upright in the center of the mound you just created.
Form the Volcano
Start to build the form of the volcano by wrapping crumpled newspaper around the sides of the bottle or cup, making it as wide as you want at the bottom. Mold and shape it into a cone so the volcano is narrower at the top of your bottle or cup than it is at the base.
Wrap Volcano in Masking Tape
Wrap the newspaper in masking tape, so the outside is smooth from the masking tape. This also secures the newspaper to the base.
Don’t cover the opening of the bottle or cup at the top of the form with masking tape—you’ll need it to be open for the eruption.
Form the Exterior of the Volcano
Tear more newspaper into strips about 1 to 2 inches wide. Saturate one strip of the newspaper by dipping it into the paste. You can also hold the strip of paper in your hand and brush the paste onto the paper using your other hand and a paintbrush. Stick the newspaper strip over the volcano by using your fingers to massage and smooth each strip onto the form. Repeat this process until the form and base are covered with newspaper strips. The strips should overlap and run in different directions.
Let the Volcano Dry
After applying one layer of paper strips, wait 24 hours for the paste to dry. If you wish, you can apply another layer of paper strips until you achieve the volcano shape you like, but every layer of paper strips and glue needs to dry for 24 hours.
Paint the Volcano
When the newspaper and glue are completely dry, then it’s time to paint the volcano with as much detail, texture, and color as you’d like. Use brown or gray for the rocks, green for vegetation, and red streaks to simulate the lava that will flow from the top. Add little trees or dinosaurs at the bottom of your volcano to replicate a prehistoric scene.
Make the Lava
Measure 1 tablespoon of warm water and pour it into the volcano crater (the top of the bottle or cup). Add three to four drops of dishwashing detergent into the bottle or cup. Add the baking soda and stir with a narrow utensil or stick. Pour the white vinegar into a separate paper cup until it’s one-third full, then add a few drops of red food coloring.
Make an Explosion
Quickly pour the vinegar into the volcano crater, step back, and watch the volcano’s bubbly and blazing red explosion begin.
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Tips for Making a Fun, Erupting Volcano Science Experiment at Home
Some of the best experiments let your kids get a little messy. The homemade volcano is no exception. Not only is the volcano experiment fun, but it gives your kids a hands-on way to learn about science. Whip up your own volcano with materials you already have at home for an inexpensive and exciting activity.
Making the Volcano Base
Before you can make an eruption, you need the volcano structure. This part of the experiment is very flexible. Start with a bottle or jar to hold the ingredients that actually cause the eruption. A container with a wide opening makes it easier to add the ingredients. Then, you can build the mountain-like volcano structure around it using several different materials.
Choose from one of these options:
- A party hat in a cone shape with the top point cut off
- Clay shaped like a volcano around the container
- Papier-mâché built up around the container
- Wet sand or soil packed around the container
- Poster board rolled into a wide cone shape
- Other moldable materials you have on hand
Put the container in a shallow pan to keep the mess from going all over your space. Use the material to build the volcano shape, being careful not to cover the opening of the container. If you use papier-mâché, ball up newspaper to create the basic shape. Keep it in place with tape. Put your layer of papier-mâché over the base newspaper shape.
Make your volcano realistic-looking with extra details. The material you use is a factor in how to add details. For a clay volcano, you might carve details into the clay before it hardens to make it look like a rocky volcano. A coat of paint on hardened clay, poster board or papier-mâché gives the structure a mountain-like look. You can also add accents such as mini trees, rocks and mini dinosaur toys to any type of volcano.
Creating the Eruption
Creating the volcano structure is fun, but you’re finally ready for the step the kids are excited about: Make it erupt. For this part, you need the following materials:
- Liquid dishwashing soap
- Orange or red food coloring
- Baking soda
- A funnel
Use the following steps to create the eruption:
fill your container almost to the top with warm water. Use a funnel for easier pouring.
2. Squirt a few drops of food coloring into the water. 3. Squeeze about six drops of liquid dish soap into the water. 4. Pour about 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the container using a dry funnel if the opening is small. 5. Pour about 1/4 cup of vinegar into the volcano through a clean funnel. Do this quickly, and move out of the way because the eruption happens quickly.
Extending the Fun
Just one eruption is never enough. Have fun with the volcano by testing different theories. You might change the amounts of each ingredient to see if it affects the results. Swap out ingredients for different materials like soda water instead of plain water. Challenge older kids to make the eruption bigger or longer. Encourage your kids to get creative with their experiments.
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Materials needed for this project
- Paint you can do all of this easily with a brush. However, an airbrush can be used to make some OSL effects a little easier if that is something that you decide to do. These links are to suggested retailers for paint, The links are for Vallejo, but you can use any brand that you like. My favorite places to buy paint include my friendly local game store, in North America Noble Knight Games, Amazon, in the UK Element Games
- Bright Orange
- PVA (white glue)
- Super Glue
- Bits for around the base
The things I used for this project
Use cork to make rocks
Lava rocks are generally black and rough. They are burnt and cindered rocks that have been thrown from a volcano. Break up your corkboard into slabs and rough chunks to make small rocks. You can layer these to create space on your base.
Make large platform rocks
Cut some chunks of the corkboard large enough for the mini to stand on. Make the sides rough so that it resembles rough stone. Use a sculpting tool or your pin vise to rough up the top of the stone platform to make it look more realistic.
Make small bits of rocks
Break up some more of your corkboard into small pieces to use to make rocks. These will come in handy to decorate the base so that it looks more naturally occurring.
Use small round bits to make bubbles
If you add small round bits under the PVA glue you can make it look like bubbles are forming and ready to pop. You can use anything that you want to make the bubbles, as long as they look good on the scale of the base that you are making. I use peppercorns from my kitchen for 30mm figure bases like you find in Warhammer.
Assembling your base parts
After you have created to pieces that I have outlined above, try several different placements until you find one that you like. Use the super glue to attach the cork to the base.
Larger bases will give you more options for the layout of the rocks and the flow of the lava.
In a well of your palette, mix a little bit of water into your PVA glue so that it will flow a little bit, but it is still fairly thick. I use an old paintbrush to transfer it from my palette to the areas of the base that will have the lava.
Make sure the PVA glue gets into the recesses of the base, and up onto the cork a little bit, in order to create the look of the lava flow. It might take more than one application to get the results that you want, especially when you are covering the bubbles.
Be patient, this is the most time-consuming part, but it really makes a difference if you get it right. If you are a painter that likes to use a hairdryer to accelerate the drying time of your minis, resist the urge to dry the PVA glue here. You will cause small waves to form that won’t resemble lava at all.
Prime in Black
A good even coat of black primer will get the cork looking like rocks. You can prime any color that you want, but priming in black will let you skip the step of painting your rocks black.
Black will begin the depth of the rocks and prep them for the rest of the paint job.
Drybrush gray paint to create highlights on the rocks. Concentrate your efforts in this step to bring out the texture that you created on the sides of the rocks.
The lava won’t be as vibrant if you go straight red over black. It helps to lay down an intermediate color to give a nice base to your lava. I use a nice burnt orange or burnt umber as this intermediate step.
Fully paint the recesses where the lave flow will be prep the warm colors, make sure that you get all the way over to the rocks on the side. this will be where the lava is coolest before becoming solid.
Red is the next step in the heat transition of your lava. You will layer the lava leaving a little bit of burnt orange at the edges. try to feather the transition between the two colors so that it isn’t an abrupt transition.
It’s time to start bringing the heat with this color. This is where the lava will really start to look hot. You can even use this color to create an OSL glow effect on the sides of your rocks if you want. Bright orange is the majority of the center area of your lava to make it really glow with heat.
Yellow for the hottest spots in the center of the lava. This is the brightest color that you should use, except for the case that I will list next. Use Yellow sparingly to bring out the hottest spots. Overuse will really detract from its effectiveness. This is a situation where less truly is more.
In my opinion, there is only one time to use white on your lava base. When you have chosen to make bubbles in the lava on your base, highlighting with a spot of white can really make it look like those bubbles are ready to pop.
I painted the top half of the bubble white and then glazed over it with yellow to make it extra bright. Then I painted just the very top of the bubble with pure white paint.
Pin Your Model to The Base
Because cork is a super soft material it breaks apart easily. If you glue your mini directly to the painted cork surface it can easily break away from it. By pinning the mini to the base you can ensure that it has a lot more hold and stability.
Use your pin vise to drill through the layers of cork and the base as well. Run the pin from the heel of the mini through the cork and then anchor it with a twist on the underside of the base.
I bet you never thought to pair your LEGO basic blocks with a cool kitchen science chemical reaction? I didn’t either until my son suggested we build a LEGO volcano one morning. This is the perfect STEM experiment for hands-on learning that will keep your kids busy anytime. We have tons of unique ways to use your LEGO for early childhood learning! This would even make a fascinating LEGO science project.
COOL THINGS TO BUILD WITH LEGO: MAKE A LEGO VOLCANO
FIZZING LEGO VOLCANO
There’s nothing better than baking soda and vinegar experiments to explore chemical reactions! It is one of our go-to classic science experiments and we have loads of fun variations. This time for LEGO week, we made a LEGO volcano.
We are really hitting the little LEGO bricks stage of my son’s development and have had fun coming up with creative LEGO activities! My son loves making volcanos and he even suggested building this LEGO volcano.
ALSO TRY: BUILD A LEGO DAM
Let’s get started building a LEGO volcano!
Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges?
We have you covered…
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HOW TO BUILD A LEGO VOLCANO
Build your own LEGO volcano! I am not a master builder and my son is only 5. But we had a great time figuring out together how to make this LEGO volcano actually look like a volcano. We sorted through all our colors for black and brown bricks. We highlighted our volcano with red and orange bricks for lava.
Kids of all ages will love working with you independently with friends and siblings to build a volcano model!
I put a test tube from our science kit in the middle of the LEGO volcano. Any narrow jar or bottle you can build around will work. Try a spice jar or mini water bottle. I showed him how we could start the bricks out wide and taper them in towards the test tube to form a volcano.
We added all the brown and black pieces we could find to make our LEGO volcano look mountainous and “bumpy”.
Learn about volcanos! You can read more about types of volcanoes here with our homemade salt dough volcano experiment. This volcano activity is another great way to occupy time and extend the classic baking soda and vinegar reaction.
YOU WILL NEED:
- Small bottle (preferably with a narrow opening)
- LEGO bricks
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
- Food coloring
- Bin, tray, or container to set the baseplate in to catch the overflow.
STEP 1: Build a volcano model around your chosen container!
I left cracks or gaps around the LEGO Volcano to let the lava flow through!
STEP 2: Fill the container inside the LEGO Volcano with baking soda. I filled our container about 2/3 full.
STEP 3: Mix vinegar with red food coloring if desired. I ended up having to use apple cider vinegar. Usually, our experiments just include baking soda and vinegar. This time I squeezed a few drops of dish soap into the vinegar and gently stirred.
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The dish soap I added gives a much frothier eruption with fun bubbles too!
I gave my son a turkey baster to continue the LEGO volcano eruptions. You can deliver the vinegar directly onto the remaining baking soda this way. It makes a cool eruption that keeps on going!
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It kept on going…..
….and going! Check out those bubbles!
Want the Ultimate collection of LEGO Activities?
MORE BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR FUN TO TRY:
- Baking Soda Balloon Experiment
- Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano
- Why Do Baking Soda and Vinegar React
- How To Make Soda Bombs
- How To Make Slime With Baking Soda and Vinegar
THIS LEGO VOLCANO WAS A REAL CROWD PLEASER!
Click on the link or on the image below for more awesome LEGO activities for kids.
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We have you covered…
Click below to get your quick and easy brick building challenges.
We had the best time this morning building the volcano and then making the chemical reaction. Very satisfying to attempt a cone formation of legos and to intentionally leave gaps- a little more thinking and time involved- that was my favorite part! My 3.5yo of course loved playing with the overflowing foam. Thanks for your content. I’m a newsletter subscriber since your earlier slime days. I love seeing your evolution and comforted by your emails reaching out to help parents during the covid19 quarantine. ❤️
That made my day Emma! I am so happy it was a great experience for both of you. Who doesn’t love a LEGO volcano!
We made a Lego volcano today and was such a hit !!
Thank you so much for detailed steps
Made for a perfect t afternoon of fun
- Students will learn about volcanoes.
- Students will learn about chemical reactions.
- Baking pan
- Soda bottle
- Moist soil
- Tablespoon baking soda
- Cup of vinegar
- Red food coloring
- Space where you can make a mess
The Nature of Volcanoes
Volcanoes are built by the accumulation of their own eruptive products—lava, bombs (crusted over ash flows), and tephra (airborne ash and dust). A volcano is most commonly a conical hill or mountain built around a vent that connects with reservoirs of molten rock below the surface of Earth. The term volcano also refers to the opening or vent through which the molten rock and associated gases are expelled.
Driven by buoyancy and gas pressure, the molten rock, which is lighter than the surrounding solid rock, forces its way upward and may ultimately break though zones of weaknesses in Earth’s crust. If so, an eruption begins, and the molten rock may pour from the vent as nonexplosive lava flows, or it may shoot violently into the air as dense clouds of lava fragments. Larger fragments fall back around the vent, and accumulations of fall-back fragments may move downslope as ash flows under the force of gravity. Some of the finer ejected materials may be carried by the wind and fall to the ground many miles away. The finest ash particles may be injected miles into the atmosphere and carried many times around the world by stratospheric winds before settling out.
Magma, Lava, and Pumice
Molten rock below the surface of Earth that rises in volcanic vents is known as magma, but after it erupts from a volcano it is called lava. Originating many tens of miles beneath the ground, the ascending magma commonly contains some crystals, fragments of surrounding (unmelted) rocks, and dissolved gases, but it is primarily a liquid composed of oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, titanium, and manganese. Magmas also contain many other chemical elements in trace quantities. Upon cooling, the liquid magma may precipitate crystals of various minerals until solidification is complete to form an igneous or magmatic rock.
Lava is red-hot when it pours or blasts out of a vent but soon changes to dark red, gray, black, or some other color as it cools and solidifies. Very hot, gas-rich lava containing abundant iron and magnesium is fluid and flows like hot tar, whereas cooler, gas-poor lava high in silicon, sodium, and potassium flows sluggishly, like thick honey, or in other cases, like pasty, blocky masses.
All magmas contain dissolved gases, and as they rise to the surface to erupt, the confining pressures are reduced and the dissolved gases are liberated either quietly or explosively. If the lava is a thin fluid (not viscous), the gases may escape easily. But if the lava is thick and pasty (highly viscous), the gases will not move freely but will build up tremendous pressure, and ultimately escape with explosive violence. Gases in lava may be compared with the gas in a bottle of a carbonated soft drink. If you put your thumb over the top of the bottle and shake it vigorously, the gas separates from the drink and forms bubbles. When you remove your thumb abruptly, there is a miniature explosion of gas and liquid. The gases in lava behave in somewhat the same way. Their sudden expansion causes the terrible explosions that throw out great masses of solid rock as well as lava, dust, and ashes.
The violent separation of gas from lava may produce rock froth called pumice. Some of this froth is so light—because of the many gas bubbles—that it floats on water. In many eruptions, the froth is shattered explosively into small fragments that are hurled high into the air in the form of volcanic cinders (red or black), volcanic ash (commonly tan or gray), and volcanic dust.
- Start with an explanation of volcanoes using the background information.
- Place the baking pan on the ground, and set the soda bottle in the middle of the pan.
- Mound and shape the moist soil around the bottle to form a mountain. Bring the soil right up to the top of the bottle’s opening, but don’t get the soil inside the bottle.
- Pour one tablespoon of baking soda into the bottle.
- Color one cup of vinegar with red food coloring.
- Pour the colored vinegar into the bottle. Stand back and watch red foam spray out of the top and down the mountain like lava from a volcano.
What’s happening in there?The baking soda is reacting with the vinegar to produce carbon dioxide gas. The gas builds up enough pressure to force the foaming liquid out of the top of the bottle.
Brought to you by MaryAnn Kohl, author of: Messy Art Book.
My daughter’s school class is studying volcanoes and they decided to have a “Volcano Day.” Each kid was assigned to make a volcano, bring it to school, and cause it to “erupt.” Most of the kids made their volcanoes out of spray foam, but my daughter wanted to make hers out of clay. After some online searching, we found a quick and easy recipe for salt dough and decided to make the volcano out of that.
Salt Dough Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Gradually add the cold water and mix with a spoon. When the mixture becomes clumpy (not watery), knead on a hard, flat surface until the dough has a uniform consistency similar to cookie dough.
The mixed salt dough
Salt dough can be hardened in the oven or left to air dry. Air drying can take several days, depending on the thickness of the dough. Oven drying should be done at a low temperature and can take several hours if the dough creation is thick.
After mixing a double batch of dough, we created the volcano’s magma chamber by taping an empty water bottle to a piece of cardboard. In hindsight, we should have used a piece of wood because the liquid from the eruption caused the cardboard to warp.
Molding the volcano
Once the magma chamber was in place, my daughter began forming the salt dough around the bottle in the shape of a cone. We realized almost immediately that the double batch of dough wouldn’t be enough to cover the bottle, so I began mixing up another double batch. I ended up mixing two more double batches before the volcano was finished. To fill in the cracks, I made a paste out of flour and water which we spread over the drying volcano.
We left the salt dough to dry for a couple of days, then my daughter painted and decorated her volcano. For the eruption, we used a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, dyed red with food coloring.
These lava cakes are rich and decadent, with cakey outsides and irresistibly gooey chocolate centers. They’re like a warm mug of hot chocolate in romantic dessert form.
These chocolate lava cakes look and taste impressive, but they’re pretty quick and easy to make. You don’t need any special equipment—no mixer, just a couple of bowls and a whisk. Unlike most lava cakes, you don’t even need ramekins to make this recipe. I scaled it down to fit perfectly in your muffin tin!
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten popularized the lava cake in the 1990s, so this recipe concept has been around for a while. I’m excited to report that the ingredients are simple (you probably have them already) and the muffin tin technique works like a charm.
This recipe yields two small lava cakes, perfect for two individual servings. They’re rich enough that you could also serve four people who are willing to share. I never manage to polish one off on my own.
You’ll find step-by-step photos and a detailed recipe below. Let’s make some lava cakes!
Lava Cake Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make lava cakes:
- Unsalted butter: For greasing the muffin tins, plus several tablespoons for melting.
- Quality chocolate or chocolate chips: Use bittersweet chocolate for more intense dark chocolate flavor, or semi-sweet chocolate for rich but somewhat more mild flavor. If using a chocolate bar, finely chop the chocolate before using (you’ll need a slightly heaping 1/3 cup). I’ve successfully used Guittard’s extra-dark chocolate chips (63 percent cacao content). Low-quality chocolate chips with additives may not work as well.
- Eggs: We’ll use one egg yolk and one full egg.
- Sugar: Two tablespoons of sugar is extremely low for a dessert and works beautifully. I tried making this recipe with natural sweeteners and it just doesn’t work as well.
- Vanilla Extract: Just a dash yields more complex flavor
- Flour: One teaspoon, can you believe it? You can use whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour blend.
Watch How to Make Mini Lava Cakes
Lava Cake Serving Suggestions
For serving, I think these cakes are pretty with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. For presentation bonus points, add a dollop of strawberry or vanilla ice cream and/or fresh berries.
For a special meal to accompany your lava cakes, check out my date night recipe roundup.
Lava Cake FAQ
Can I make this recipe ahead of time? You can prepare the recipe through step 6 up to one day in advance. Refrigerate the tin in the meantime but let it warm to room temperature before baking.
Can I use ramekins instead? While this recipe was developed for a standard muffin tin, I believe you could bake the lava cakes in small, four-ounce ramekins (about three inches in diameter). I wouldn’t recommend using ramekins any larger than that.
Can I double or triple the recipe? Yes. A couple commenters reported success, but mentioned that their cakes needed an extra minute or two in the oven. Try to divide the batter as evenly as possible between the muffin cups. You won’t be able to flip individual servings onto their serving plates as you would if you were just making two. Perhaps try flipping them onto a cutting board or pan, and then carefully transferring them to serving plates with a metal spatula once they have cooled for a few more minutes.
What about the “uncooked” egg in the center of the cakes? Is it safe to eat? To my understanding, the interior of the lava cake reaches over 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a high enough temperature to eliminate any risks with the egg. You can verify with a thermometer if you wish.
What if my lava cakes don’t look done after 5 minutes? In my tests with my well-calibrated oven, five minutes was just right. If your oven runs cool, your cakes might need a little more time. Pay close attention to the visual cues provided within the recipe (bake until the cakes have risen from their cups but still jiggle in the center just a bit) and check out my step-by-step photos if you have any doubts.
Craving more chocolate treats?
- Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge
- Coffee Chocolate Chip Blondies
- Dark Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons
- Favorite Hot Chocolate
Please let me know how your lava cakes turn out in the comments! I’m so eager to hear how this technique works for you.
The Exploratorium is more than a museum. Explore our online resources for learning at home.
- A glass jar or clear drinking glass
- Vegetable oil
- Food coloring (if you want)
Don’t forget to be careful with glass.
|Pour about 1/3 cup of vegetable oil into the jar. When everything settles, is the oil on top of the water or underneath it?|
If you want, add one drop of food coloring to the jar. What happens? Is the drop in the oil or in the water? Does the color spread?
Lava Lites are lamps that were invented by an English man named Craven Walker in 1964. They are basically tall thin glass jars filled with liquid and a special kind of colored wax, set on top of a base with a light bulb. When the bulb is turned on, the lamp glows, the liquid heats up, and the wax begins to melt. Blobs of wax rise to the top of the lamp, then cool and sink back down–over and over again.
Shake salt on top of the oil while you count slowly to 5. Wow! What happens to the food coloring? What happens to the salt?
Add more salt to keep the action going for as long as you want.
|Six-year-old Nina Gumkowsky shared this activity with the other students in her first-grade class. Everyone loved it! They did it over and over again and kept trying to touch the layers. It was messy, but it was fun!|
Why does the oil float on the water?
Oil floats on water because a drop of oil is lighter than a drop of water the same size. Another way of saying this is to say that water is denser than oil. Density is a measurement of how much a given volume of something weighs. Things that are less dense than water will float in water. Things that are more dense than water will sink.
Even though oil and water are both liquids, they are what chemists call immiscible liquids. That’s a fancy word that means they don’t mix.
What happens when I pour salt on the oil?
Salt is heavier than water, so when you pour salt on the oil, it sinks to the bottom of the mixture, carrying a blob of oil with it. In the water, the salt starts to dissolve. As it dissolves, the salt releases the oil, which floats back up to the top of the water.
This looks like a Lava Lite. How does a Lava Lite work?
Like your oil and water, the “lava” in a Lava Lite doesn’t mix with the liquid that surrounds it. When it’s cool, the “lava” is a little bit denser than the liquid surrounding it. When the “lava” rests on the bottom of the Lava Lite, the light bulb in the lamp warms it up. As it warms up, the “lava” expands a little. When it expands, the “lava” stays the same weight but it takes up more space-so it’s less dense. When it’s warm enough, the “lava” is less dense than the surrounding liquid, and so it rises up to the top to float. At the top of the lamp, it cools down, becomes more dense, and sinks once again. This cycle repeats over and over as the “lava” warms up and rises, then cools down and sinks.
Where did this experiment come from, anyway?
Exploratorium Teacher-in-Residence Eric Muller created this activity while playing with his food in a Chinese restaurant.
This and dozens of other cool activities are included in the Exploratorium’s Science Explorer books, available for purchase from our online store.
Published by Owl Books,
ISBN 0-B050-4536 & ISBN 0-8050-4537-6 ,
Are you looking for a fun, easy art project for your preschool dinosaur theme? Try this volcano blow art technique. It’s simple to set up, and it’s a fun way for young children to create unique artwork – without a paintbrush!
This art project was easy enough for my 4- and 5-year-olds to do with minimal guidance from me. (Even my 2-year-old was able to make a volcano scene, although her lungs aren’t quite strong enough to really blow the paint.)
For this project, you will need:
Click to print
First, have your child cut out a volcano shape from the brown paper. He can draw the mountain with a pencil first, or just eyeball it, and then cut the top off to make a crater. You’ll also need to cut out the dinosaur silhouettes (this may require the help of an adult).
Next, glue the volcano shape to the bottom edge of the white paper and add the dinosaur stencils to make a prehistoric dinosaur scene.
Once everything is glued into place, with the paper lying flat on the table, help your child drip some red or orange tempera paint near the top of the volcano. You want a good-sized blob here. My children used spoons for pouring.
Now is the time to make your volcano explode! Have your child blow through the straw, directing the air toward the blob of paint. He can experiment with holding the straw at different angles for different effects. He can try blowing harder or softer through the straw, blowing in different directions, etc. Have fun with it! Add more paint as necessary to get the effect you want. You’ll want to keep blowing/spreading the paint until it will no longer drip down the page when tilted.
As the last step, you can add a few lava flows to your volcano by adding one more blob of paint at the crater and tilting the page to have it run down the mountainside.
Here’s another one:
Ready, set… KABOOM! Run, dinosaurs!
You can make your own miniature volcano that will actually erupt! This is a fun and instructional lesson in chemical reactions. It’s a small volcano, but its eruption will still be grand. If you want a bigger volcano, you can use a 2-liter bottle and make a paper mache mountain. When you are ready for your volcano to erupt, take it outside or put it in a well-protected area as it will be messy.
Attach the disposable cup to the center of the paper plate with the masking tape. Use clay to form a mountain on the plate around the cup. You can either buy clay or mix up a batch using one of these recipes. Your mountain should completely cover the side of the cup. The hole in the cup will be the crater where the lava comes out, so be careful to not get any clay in it. You may want to let the clay dry, but it’s not necessary.
Once your mountain is ready, prepare for your eruption. First, measure the water into your volcano crater. Add 3 to 4 drops of dish washing soap and 3 to 4 drops of food coloring. Stir in the baking soda. Pour some vinegar into the other small disposable cup so the cup is about 1/3 full. Quickly pour the vinegar into your volcano crater, step back, and watch your volcano’s bubbly eruption!
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An awesome lego animation of a science teacher demonstrating how to create your own volcano in a lab, only for the eruption to destroy the lego character.
The funny video, filmed for the YouTube channel Make Science Fun, shows the lego character adding the appropriate chemicals to get the volcano to erupt.
The resulting explosion sets the mini laboratory on fire, leaving the animated character covered in ash.
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This footage could be used as a ‘feel good’ news story, about a Science Teacher finding a new way to relate to his younger students.
Jacob Strickling, Science Teacher from Sydney Australia wanted to relate better with his younger students. So two years ago he started a YouTube Channel ‘Make Science Fun’ with his youngest son Sam.
In this video, Jacob does the famous volcano reaction with Potassium Permanganate and glycerol. There is an explosion, and the laboratory and Lego man catch on fire! He dies and goes up to heaven in angel form.
Materials for Building Volcano
Materials for Erupting Volcano
Tools and Basic Supplies
Class Time Directions for Erupting Volcano
The world before the Flood and the world after the Flood looked very different. The Flood changed the earth in big ways! Read Genesis 7:11 . Scripture tells us that “the fountains of the deep broke up.” What do you think that means? Take responses. The earth’s crust, way down deep, was breaking apart, and water was bursting out. As the earth’s crust was breaking up, it was forming volcanoes! Those volcanoes that formed during the Flood would later change the whole look of the earth!
When a volcano erupts, what is it that comes out of it? Take responses. Lava! Beneath the surface of the earth flows magma (a hot rock substance). Once the magma flows out of a volcano, it changes and is now called lava. Lava is extremely hot—1,292 to 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit (700 to 1,200 degrees Celsius)! Not something you would want to be caught in! Because of its temperature, it is very destructive—everything caught in its path is destroyed. When you picture a volcano erupting, do you imagine really fast flowing lava destroying everything caught in its path because there is no way for anything to escape? Take responses. Believe it or not, most lava actually flows no more than 5 miles (8 km) per hour. That is slow enough that you could walk or jog to safety.
Let’s do an experiment to show us the lava flowing out of a volcano!
Each group (table) should have a sample mini volcano. First, remove the bottle cap. Then, using a funnel, drop 2 tsp. of baking soda into the bottle. Next, add 4 drops of dish soap and then 2 drops of red food coloring. Finally, pour in a 1/2 cup of vinegar and watch it erupt!
When a volcano erupts, the magma becomes lava. When that lava cools, wind and rain break it down into fertile soil. And what is made out of soil? Land! New land is born! In fact, some of the islands of Hawaii are constantly getting larger thanks to lava flows!
So think back to the Flood. The volcanoes were formed by the earth’s crust breaking up and pushing around and the tectonic plates shifting. This pushing of the ground resulted in volcanoes. When those volcanoes erupted, the lava moved slowly, eventually forming new land. Some of the land we have today is partially a result of the volcano eruptions of the Flood of Noah’s day! And the volcanoes we have today are remnants from that catastrophic event! Now let’s make your own mini volcano to take home.
Class Time Directions for Building Volcano