Exploding Volcano Activity: Get Your Little Scientist Thinking Big
In our centers, the classic “explode-y volcano” experiment (ahem, that’s the technical term) gets little minds thinking big: About the form and function of actual volcanoes (a hole in a mountain that burps lava, ash, and hot gas) as well as what our planet looked and felt like when dinosaurs roamed. We also explore scientific concepts like cause and effect: Mix vinegar with baking soda and you get a natural (and non-toxic) chemical reaction—plus bubbles galore!
Turn your own kitchen into a lab with this easy volcano how-to:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Food coloring (orange or red—and optional)
- Baking sheet
- A cup or measuring cup with a spout
- Spoon or dropper
- Aprons or shirts that can get dirty, and dish towels for clean-up
There She Blows!
- Put a pile of baking soda on the baking sheet.
- Put a small amount of vinegar in the cup and add a drop or two of food coloring.
- Have your child use the spoon or eye dropper to drop (or just pour) a little vinegar solution onto a pile of baking soda and watch your volcano erupt!
Let Your Imagination Roar
Build a mountain: For longer-lasting fun, build a volcano base using a bottle and a simple playdough recipe—you can even paint the slopes once it’s dry. Our volcano hack-of-the-day: Try an upside-down funnel over a pile of baking soda. Boom. Volcano.
Suds up your lava flow: The chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar produces carbon dioxide gas, which, by the way, is also a byproduct of real volcanoes. Adding a squirt of dishwashing liquid to your concoction traps the gas and changes your “lava” flow. Check out these detailed instructions.
Make a dino diorama: Dot your baking sheet with plastic dinosaurs and get them in on the fun!