What’s the idea?
Get your creative science hat on and learn how to make a simple volcano that erupts – its easy, safe and fun!
What’s the story?
This experiment has been around for a while now but this is the first time we have given it a go from home.
I wanted to share our experience with you as it has been one of our more successful science experiments.
The weather has been so nice that we decided to give it a go outside by using a bit of dirt, old patio shingles and a few of my son’s own creative touches.
I was surprised at how straightforward it was.
My 8 year old (with the help of his 6 year old sister) could create most of it himself with a bit of help at the end getting the ‘chemicals’ in the correct order.
By the way, if you like science experiments for kids, give this a try:
People should do this because…?
Learning how to make a simple volcano that erupts is a safe, non-toxic and fun science experiment that is easy to do at home!
My 8 year old was keen to come up with a design for his volcano. We decided to go outside as it minimised any mess and he could find many natural materials from the garden.
It gets kids out of the house for a couple of hours as they scrounge around for materials…
It ignites the imagination on how the volcano can be built and curiosity of what might happen as the volcano erupts…
It encourages research about volcanoes beforehand to understand what happens when a volcano erupts…
It demonstrates the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar…
How to build a simple volcano that erupts:
There are many different ways to build your own simple erupting volcano.
You could use paper mache, cardboard, clay, A3 card paper, or simply dirt and rocks (a few links to some examples can be found below).
We decided to create our volcano out of dirt from the garden (with a bit of water to make it stick), old patio shingles to keep the shape in place, a few dandelions and weeds!
My son also created some stick-men and trees from toothpicks and blue tack (the more destruction the better in his eyes!).
After most of the volcano was made we took an old plastic cup from the draw and pushed it into the top of the volcano until we couldn’t see much of the cup anymore.
We then went inside to mix the following, as described on the Natural History Museum Website:
Stuff you may need
For the volcano:
- Stones, old patio shingles
For the eruption:
- Small bowl
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tbsp washing up liquid
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 tbsp red food colouring
Steps for the eruption:
- In a bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid. Add the water and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into your volcano.
- In a cup, mix together the vinegar and food colouring.
- When you’re ready, pour the vinegar into the bottle with the bicarbonate.
- Wait for it to erupt and watch how the lava flows!
- Experiment with different amounts of bicarbonate and vinegar and see how the volcano’s eruption changes.