Baking soda volcano - eruption
Make Learning Fun

How To Make A Baking Soda Volcano :: Mt. Fuji Erupts In Our Kitchen!


Baking soda volcano - featured view

Maia and I made a baking soda volcano the other day and, pardon the pun, it was a blast!

She was home sick so we had plenty of time to make our version of Mt. Fuji, complete with an ecosystem of trees, flowers, and shrubs. We then set off a series of baking soda volcano eruptions so impressive that she hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

Baking soda volcano - adding playdough

How to Make a Baking Soda Volcano


  • A plate, platter or dish for the base
  • 1 quart mason jar or soda bottle
  • Playdough (you could also use salt dough or aluminum foil)
  • Nature items like flowers, sticks, leaves, and pebbles
  • Lava (see instructions below to make your own lava)


Step #1. Build a Playdough Volcano

First, we shaped the volcano by wrapping lavender playdough around a quart glass mason jar.

I’d wanted to make a volcano out of papier mache, but since this was a last minute project we used what we had on hand, which was a batch of no-cook playdough. I’ve also heard of people mixing a quick batch of salt dough to use for this purpose, or just crumpling aluminum foil around a soda bottle for the mountain.

Baking soda volcano - top view

After molding all of the lavender playdough around the jar, we decided to cover the platter with the rest of the playdough we had in the house.

Quite an artful volcano, no?

Baking soda volcano - nature

Step #2. Add Nature Landscaping

Then we added landscaping to Mt. Fuji. We poked various nature items into the playdough to create trees, flowers, and bushes, much like we did when we created a forest diorama on our kitchen table. We also included pebbles for boulders and made a bridge out of sticks.

Baking soda volcano - ingredients

Step #3. Make the Baking Soda Volcano “Lava”

I followed this tutorial I found on Weather Wiz Kids for the quantities of baking soda, etc. When I was a child, we made our volcano with just baking soda and vinegar, but this tutorial calls for a little more and I think it was worth doing.

Here’s how…


  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Red food coloring
  • Vinegar
  • Warm water


First, we mixed red food coloring with warm water…

Baking soda volcano - pouring

Then we poured it into the jar hidden inside the volcano. We added six drops of dish soap, two tablespoons of baking soda, and then the vinegar.

Baking soda volcano - lava flow

The eruption was awesome! The baking soda volcano reaction was bigger than I expected and it happened so quickly that I didn’t photograph it quick enough.

Baking soda volcano - eruption

I also wasn’t expecting the overflow, so we wrapped towels around our platter to catch the “lava.” Then we proceeded to set off a total of seven volcanic eruptions in our kitchen!

Baking soda volcano - Maia smile

Who knew such fun times could be had while wearing pajamas in the middle of a sick day?

Want more science? Here’s my current collection of fave artful kids science experiments!

What are your favorites?

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  • Eva Harp
    February 25, 2011 at 7:31 am

    This is on my list for next week!! Thanks for reminding me about it.

  • Heather
    February 25, 2011 at 8:13 am

    my son had a “mad scientist” birthday party this year-
    One of the favorites was putting baking soda and vinegar in a bottle and putting a balloon on the top. The gas created blows up the balloon.

  • Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    February 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Baking soda and vinegar eruptions are always a favorite. Here’s another…but you need to do it outdoors with lots of space…drop Mento’s candy in a litre bottle of diet coke. EXPLOSIVE!!! The boys LOVE this! And James just generally likes to cook up potions from various combinations in the kitchen. Sometimes he freezes them, or leaves them to sit and “brew”.

  • molly
    February 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

    This is one of our favorites. Sometimes I just give them baking soda and vinegar in the bathtub and let them go to town (gets the tub clean in the process). You can also put raisins in a glass with water and a bit of vinegar and baking soda and the raisins “dance”. And, like Julie’s kids, mine love to make “mixes” of various stuff. Eleanor was just saying yesterday that she wanted to try a recipe that she made up — so looks like we are going to be doing some experimental baking! We also have a book of kids science projects but I can’t remember what it is called and it is packed away (we are moving next week — ugh).

  • Wendi Gratz
    February 25, 2011 at 8:39 am

    My daughter and I did a fun experiment growing crystals in egg shells – I posted about it here.
    With Easter coming it it would be a fun one!

  • butterfly wishes and wonderland dreams
    February 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

    awesome fun I love the last picture pure joy on her face
    we like to freeze a big block of ice (use a bread loaf pan or wipes container) then pop it out and add rock salt and pipe warm colored water all over it. rainbow glazier. you can also use it to talk about how the earth is warming up and ice is melting and animals are in trouble with out their homes and habitats
    or we did a oil spill lesson too:

  • dana
    February 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

    awesome! we will have to try this beautiful version of volcano next time!

  • [email protected]
    February 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Lovely messy stuff!
    Have you ever tried the cornflour-and-water trick? We used to do it when were were young and now my children are intrigued by it, and always ask to do have a play when I’m making a white sauce and they spot the cornflour!
    Adding just the right amount of water to a spoonful of cornflour gives such a weird liquid/solid/liquid consistency. Loads of fun for kids to scrap it up then watch it drip liquid back to its solid state.Feels great on little fingers too – silky, powdery then cold and liquid.

  • Zoe
    February 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    This is fab! We did something similar and it too was a hit:

  • Jen
    February 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Alkaseltzer tablets and water in a clear film canister dressed up to look like a rocket.

  • molly
    February 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Those eggs you made look awesome, thanks for posting. It reminds me also that we used to grow alum crystals as kids. I’ll have to try it with my guys now!

  • MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    February 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    All you need to know is the looks on those kids’ faces. Pure joy.

  • Darcy Troutman
    February 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Great idea. simply great. love how you made it into an all day project!

  • Juise
    February 26, 2011 at 12:38 am

    That is the loveliest volcano I have ever seen <3 Good work, guys. And I love, love, love that last photo, so full of emotion and the joy of the moment!

  • Rachel
    February 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

    oh how fun!!! i love all the layers/aspects of this problem. want to try this soon with the boys for sure!

  • anushka
    February 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    oh i’m so inspired! you better watch out making sick days so fun… i can see future fake outs. : ) just kidding… but, i would if i were your kid!

  • Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    February 28, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Funny you should mention this…it’s a favorite in my house as well. My guys just went wild with this the other day, and they are 11 and 8!…big enough to venture into the kitchen, pull out the ingredients, and do it on their own. Much to my surprise, they used the entire container of cornstarch and made an enormous quantity of the stuff (with yellow food coloring so it looked disgusting), and then got carried away, having a “food fight”. Ack! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came in the kitchen. The upside…this was the first time in a long time that the two of them have had fun spontaneously playing together! I was happy to have them bond over a giant puddle of goop! (and they did their best to clean it up in the aftermath)

  • Teresa
    February 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I am in the process of organizing and trying to get ready for home school. my child is 14 months, what can I say I am an early bird. And I came up with this website, it has lots of science experiments.

  • Ronnie
    March 2, 2011 at 7:42 am

    What a pretty volcano! I did a similar activity last week with my children (and it was also very last minute). They were playing in their sandpit and we mounded up the sand to make the volcano shape, put in the bicarb soda and then added the vinegar. No mess or clean up because it was outside in the sandpit. My 22 month old even had a go. We went through 3L vinegar and a box of baking soda in about 10 minutes, but they loved it.

  • Amy
    March 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Love the volcano! We just tried the milk, liquid dish soap and food coloring. My daughters loved watching the colors move and swirl all on their own. I posted it on my blog.

  • Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now
    March 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    That’s the prettiest volcano I’ve ever seen! I LOVE your addition of an ecosystem! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at

  • Pumpkinbear
    March 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Last summer I helped my six-year-old make a volcano out of plaster of Paris, which she painted with acrylic paints–we use that thing SO much! After she’d memorized how to make the eruptions, I’d just send her and her little sister outside on a nice day with a gallon of vinegar and a box of expired baking soda, and they’d make volcanoes everywhere–in the sandbox, in the mud, in holes they dug in the dirt, etc. Wonderful exploration!

  • Chelsey23
    April 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I always find this to be a pretty useful guide on making volcanoes

  • isaiah armstrong
    May 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    it is nice

  • jayshawn
    May 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    waz up ass whole you dont know how to make a volcan

  • janaaa
    November 10, 2012 at 12:38 am

    this is soo cool im doing this volcano for a school project! hope i get a great mark its worth 50%