Monday, June 6, 2011

Erupting With Fun

Volcanoes are one of the coolest natural wonders; just ask any 5-year old. My son knew a little about their eruptions, but when I started to ask him more detailed questions like, “What is lava and where does it come from?” a blank stare was his response. To give him a better understanding, I figured we’d read a few books, make an eruption of our own, and journal about what he learned.

I got the recipe for making our “volcano” from Linda Hetzer’s book “Rainy Days & Saturdays.” Here are the steps:
  1. Stir 1 tablespoon of baking soda into ¼ cup of water.
  2. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a plastic bottle; I used a 16.9 oz. water bottle, but a shorter bottle would work better.
  3. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap.
  4. Put the bottle in your kitchen sink.
  5. Carefully add ¼ cup distilled vinegar to the bottle; keep your face away from the bottle top.
  6. Watch the eruption!
We had all the ingredients on hand and making the eruption was a snap. My son was thrilled that our afterschool activity took us somewhere other than the table.

Our eruption was an impressive (yet slow) bubbly overflow.

Dowload this worksheet here.

After our eruption, my son cut out the scrambled instructions I’d typed up, read each step, put them in order, and glued them in his new journal. Then, we read Dana Meachen Rau’s book, “Volcanoes: Wonders of Nature.”

To wrap up our “science class,” I asked my son to write about a few of the things he’d learned in his journal. At the top of the page I wrote “What we learned about volcanoes …” He added two sentences about the things that surprised him the most: that lava is really melted rock and that volcanoes are mountains.

For another great book to read with your child about volcanoes, check out Gail Herman’s “The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes.”


  1. I'm thinking that if you leave out the water, it will erupt even better. Doing experiments are always fun "hands on" learning.

  2. AWesome site! My son would love it!! He was doing a different errupting experiment the other day. He was doing the one mentos and diet coke. It's a good one too!
    New follower from the hop!
    Ro :)
    Have YOU had your Mom-ME Moment today?

  3. Looks like tons of fun! We'll have to try this! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I appreciated your having directions and reviewing the process by getting those into order in the journal process.

    I wanted to see a volcano drawing!!! Maybe that can be a revisit experience.

    Popping through from WeTeach.