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

by Jean Van't Hul
February 25, 2011
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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

MATERIALS 

  • 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)

INSTRUCTIONS

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…

MATERIALS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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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