If you are looking for an activity to get kids excited about science and art, this activity is a great place to start. Kids love learning about volcanoes and this volcano experiment for kids allows them to create their own volcano before having it ‘explode”.
I had a lot of fun doing this experiment at school with my kindergarten classes, and again at home with my own kids.
As with all science experiments, make sure an adult is supervising at all times.
You only need a few materials for this art and science activity. You will need:
- Air Dry Clay
- Baking Soda
- Food Coloring (Optional)
- Eye Droppers (Optional)
- Magnifying Glasses (Optional)
This activity is a great opportunity to include an art lesson and let kids get their hands-on the clay. We spent a few days exploring the clay and creating with it because the children had not used it before.
You can simply give children the clay and create a volcano right away, but if you have the time, it makes for great art exploration.
I started by giving each child a ball of clay to create with. They got used to the feel of the clay and compared it to other art materials that they had used in the past, such as play dough.
Next, I gave children a bit of water to dip their finger in if they found a crack in their clay. The clay can dry quite quickly so children explored with the water to keep their clay smooth.
Children even spent time as artists experimenting with toothpicks to create marks. They used sponges and water to test how the clay reacts.
Finally, on the third day, each child created their own small volcano.
Creating the Volcano
Give each child a small ball of clay. Depending on how much clay you have, evenly divide it so that each child as large of a sphere as possible. The volcanoes work best with clay at least the size of a ping pong ball to start.
Next, roll the clay into a sphere. Then push your thumb into the center of the ball and pinch around the thumb hole to widen the top. You can also push down along the bottom so that the clay takes the shape of a volcano.
If you are doing this clay volcano experiment with lots of kids, make sure to scratch each of their names into the bottom of their volcano.
Children can also scratch some designs or prints into their volcanos, just for fun.
Since I cover prep, I teach over 100 kids so the names were very important. It was interesting because every volcano that the kids made was different!
Let your volcano dry over night. They will be ready to go in the morning!
Volcano Experiment for Kids
To do the volcano experiment for kids, place a dry clay volcano on a plastic plate.
Next, fill the volcano with baking soda. I use eye droppers for science experiments like this because I find that children love being able to use them, and feel like ‘real’ scientists.
I also like using eye droppers because they control the amount of vinegar children add to the baking soda. It allows the experiment to go on longer and allows for quality observations.
I added food coloring to the vinegar simply because it was more fun and red looked like lava. The color also allows the chemical reaction to be more clear. Today my kids wanted it to be blue.
With the eye dropper, add a few drops of vinegar to the baking soda in the volcano. Carefully observe the reaction. Magnifying glasses are great to use to encourage careful observations. Have children look and listen as they add drops of vinegar.
As soon as the vinegar touches the baking soda, it creates a chemical reaction. We see this reaction as bubbling, and fizzing.
The children loved the fact that they were making their volcano explode!
You can continue adding vinegar until the volcano doesn’t ‘explode’ any more.
The excitement that occurred through out this experiment was amazing. I love how hands-on the activity is and how much the kids enjoyed being mini scientists.
The other great thing that I love about this volcano experiment for kids is the fact that the children were really proud and engaged because they did the experiment. They created the volcano and they did the science experiment. Each part of the activity was hands-on and meaningful.
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One way that you could extend this activity is to create a huge volcano. If you don’t have the option for each child to create their own, or if you are working with really young kids, you could create one large volcano to present the ‘explosion’ to the kids.
Using baking soda and vinegar for science experiments is a great way to get kids excited about science. They love watching the reaction and learning a little bit about what is happening.
If you, and the kids you did the experiment with, enjoyed the volcano experiment for kids, then they will likely love doing another science experiment that creates the same ‘explosion’, but this time it blows up a balloon!
If you already have vinegar and baking soda, or have some left over, you could try out this Balloon Experiment”. All you need is baking soda, vinegar, a balloon and a plastic bottle.
Kids will be amazed that you can blow up the balloon with out even touching it to your mouth! Click the “Balloon Experiment” image below for full activity description.
Volcano Experiment for Kids Volcano Craft
If you really want to create something special to do this experiment in, you can easily create a special and sturdy volcano from plaster.
That way you can have some hands-on fun with an art project and you can use the volcano to do the science experiment over and over again.
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More Volcano Projects for Kids
If you love the volcano experiment for kids above, then you will love this collection of 15 DIY volcano project ideas for kids.
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