Children love mixing ingredients and coming up with all sorts of concoctions. They also love the mystery and power of volcanoes. Well, this next experiment if perfect for the child who loves to mix up ingredients as well as volcanoes. I introduce to you the complete instructions for how to make a counter top volcano! This science activity for kids teaches many skills including measuring, cause and effect, chemical reactions, and more. It is ideal for the summertime because since it can be messy, it can be done in bathing suits or outside for easy clean up. When you create a counter top volcano with your child, you are sure to be laughing in no time as the concoction bubbles and bursts out of control!
If your child loves science, mixing ingredients, and volcanoes, you are at the right place. First, take a look at the supplies you are going to need. These ingredients are actually common household ingredients and nothing poisonous or dangerous. You don’t need to worry if anything were to get on your skin or clothing. If you do not have these ingredients already on hand, you can easily find them at your local dollar or retail store.
Science Activity for Kids: Make a Counter Top Volcano
- 1 Box of Baking Soda, Do not use baking powder as it will not work the same.
- 4-5 cups of Vinegar. Regular, plain old vinegar is ideal.
- A tall, clear glass
- Food coloring
- Paper towels
- Measuring cup
As you can see, these ingredients are all quite common and hopefully you won’t even need to leave your home to gather them up. Before you begin, you can do a prep activity asking your children what they know about volcanoes. Refresh your own memory and give your kids a look at real volcanoes in action by visiting a site like Volcano World or the USGS Volcano Hazards Program. If they wish, they can sketch a picture. Ask them how you can go about building your own. What supplies would we need? What would it look like? Would we have fun? Get them excited about this science activity for kids! Tell them that they are about to now make their own volcano!
- Pour a cup of the baking soda into your glass. Set aside on a towel.
- In another glass, two cups of vinegar and a drop or two of the food coloring you wish to use.
- Stir well.
- Slowly pour the colorful liquid over your baking soda.
- Now sit back and watch as the reaction happens! Colorful bubbles will spill out of the glass and create a fantastic chemical reaction.
This is the perfect time to explain the process to them that is taking place! Do it now, because they will want to continue to make more volcanoes with the remaining supplies. Here is a little background information on this science activity for kids you can share to help them understand why this reaction took place:
The baking soda is considered a base while the vinegar is considered an acid. You can go into this concept further if you wish, explaining what other substances are bases and which are acids. Continue to explain that when they react together they form “carbonic acid” which instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide. This is what creates all the fizzing as it escapes the solution! Watch out! To make it easier, you can write these words on index cards for easy reference or so they can at least see what they fancy scientific words look like.
As soon as you have had a chance to explain what is happening and why, invite kids to keep the fun going. Help them measure and mix the ingredients and do as much of the project on their own as they can. Model the measuring for them so they know what to do.
You can continue making volcanoes until your supplies are depleted. Just be sure to get more on hand as your children will enjoy doing this science activity for kids again and again!