When you think of great science experiments for kids one of the first that springs to mind is probably a baking soda volcano and vinegar volcano. I remember making one with my little brother in the kitchen when he was about 4 or 5. Baking soda volcanoes and coke floats were our favourite summer activities.
You might also like our 10 science experiments every child should try at least once with a free printable checklist to work through.
A baking soda volcano eruption is a fantastic first demonstration of a chemical reaction as the ingredients are safe ( although do wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from vinegar )
Why does a baking soda and vinegar reaction happen?
If you combine an acid and an alkali they react together to neutralise each other. Vinegar is an acid and bicarbonate of soda is an alkali.
The reaction releases carbon dioxide gas, which is the bubbles you see. If you add washing up liquid ( dish soap ) to your eruption mix the bubbles make the washing up liquid bubble up, giving the appearance of lava erupting from a volcano.
How to make a baking soda volcano
What you need to make a baking soda volcano
Basically you need the ingredients for the volcano eruption, a jar or small bottle for the eruption to happen in and something to use as the volcano part.
Volcano – sand, snow, modroc etc
Small jar or bottle
Red food colouring
I don’t usually measure an exact amount of each, but a good dollop of baking soda, a squirt of dish soap and a bit of red food colouring mixed with a little water should give you a good eruption. If it doesn’t, add a bit more baking soda.
Volcano Experiment Extension Ideas
What happens if you don’t use the dish soap? Can you predict what might happen before trying it?
What happens if you add extra dish soap?
Volcano Experiment Extra Challenges
Can you think of an acidic fruit you could use to make an baking soda volcano eruption without adding vinegar?
Create a papier mache volcano? We love this version from Red Ted Art.
Design a multicoloured volcano? We split our jar in half and poured yellow food colouring into one half and red into the other for this.
What’s your favourite baking soda volcano to make?
What is a volcano?
A volcano is a mountain that contains a magma ( rock so hot it has turned into a liquid ) chamber. The magma chamber is filled with liquid rock. If enough pressure builds inside the chamber the volcano can explode shooting the magma from the top! When magma is on the surface of the Earth we call it lava! This is a volcanic eruption and can cause a lot
Make a model of a famous volcano
Another idea is to make a model of a famous volcano. In my book This Is Rocket Science one of the activities is to make a baking soda Olympus Mons. It’s a great way to learn about chemical reactions, volcanoes and Mars!!
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