There are so many fun experiments that can be done with baking soda, vinegar, or a combination of the two, but probably the most popular experiment is the model volcano. When I taught third grade I had my students do this experiment and they loved it! Some of my students were still talking about those volcanoes when they were in the 5th grade!
Making a volcano erupt is so simple it’s ridiculous! It’s also very cheap. The two main ingredients are household products that can be found in most homes. You can use play-doh (or make a salt dough) to form the actual volcano. Like I said, easy!
I wasn’t sure if Kora even knew what a volcano was so I decided to use a small, plastic volcano toy to better illustrate the landform.
We filled a coke bottle cap with baking soda and then Kora placed the volcano over the cap.
The lava needs to be red so we added a little food coloring to the vinegar. Kora then used an eye dropper to squeeze the vinegar onto the baking soda.
Using the eye dropper was a bit of a challenge for Kora. Actually, it was quite a big challenge. She wanted to do it all by herself (shocking!), but for some reason the vinegar wasn’t being sucked into the eye dropper as Kora waved it around in the red liquid (another shocker!). She followed my instructions as I walked her through the steps. I made the mistake of using the wrong wording in one of my steps – I wanted her to unsqueeze the bulb of the eye dropper, but I told her to “let go” instead. She did what she was told – she let go of the entire eye dropper! Oops!
Kora enjoyed watching the volcano erupt, but she really had more fun just squeezing the red vinegar out of the eye dropper. After several eruptions, there was no longer enough baking soda to create a big enough reaction for lava to flow out of the volcano. At this point I just removed the volcano and let Kora squeeze vinegar onto the remaining baking soda. She liked watching and listening to the bubbles that formed.
Volcano Eruptions is a great experiment for kids of all ages. It’s a super simple activity with only a couple of household ingredients. While it is not something that you would do on a regular basis, it is a fun occasional activity. If you haven’t done so recently, bust out the baking soda and vinegar and build yourself a volcano!