Simple Science: Volcanos
Simple science experiments that you can do at home are an easy and exciting way to introduce some basic scientific concepts to children. Not to mention fun!! I recently made these super easy, 4 step volcanos in my nature-play sessions and they were a big hit! So I’ve written up the instructions below so you can try them at home.
Children can help you combine all the base ingredients. If you are doing this activity with multiple children this is a great chance to practice taking turns and working together as a team, as well as starting to learn about various measurements (1/4 cup is more than 1 tablespoon, and so on). When children feel involved in the ‘process’ they are more likely to engage in whatever activity you’re doing and feel a sense of pride and ownership over the end result, which is a win for everyone!
What you’ll need:
A medium sized jar or drinking glass
1/4 cup baking soda
2-3 tablespoons of dish washing liquid
A few drops of red food dye (or a big squirt of washable paint, which won’t stain little fingers!)
1 cup white vinegar
This is enough for approximately 1-2 volcanos, but it is definitely worth having extra of all these ingredients on hand because they’ll be asking for more!
What to do:
Start by finding a space outside, and digging a small hole to fit you jar. Little hands love to dig, and mounding the dirt around the jar makes it seem more like a “real” volcano, which adds to the excitement.
Step 1: Pour the water into the jar until it is approximately 2/3 full
Step 2: Add the baking soda, dish washing liquid and food dye/paint
Step 3: Give it a good stir until all the ingredients are combined
Step 4: (The exciting part) Pour some or all of the vinegar into your jar, and watch it erupt!!
Once the volcano has erupted, encourage your children to feel the ‘lava’ in their hands (they probably won’t need any encouragement at all!), and ask them how it feels. Let your child take the lead and observe as wonderful, inquisitive questions and comments flow. One thing I particularly love about this activity, is that you don’t have to have any knowledge of science to help your child learn.
If your child asks a question and you don’t know the answer, you can work together to find out! What happens if we don’t add the dish soap? Will the lava change if we add more or less colour? If we keep adding more vinegar, how many times will the volcano erupt?
Remember it is not about teaching your child science, but a fun and interesting way that you can experiment and learn together. Enjoy the process!