After reading Mungo and the Dinosaur Island, we made our own erupting volcanoes complete with erupting lava and dinosaurs! This worked SO well!
In the past, we've made erupting volcanoes with flowing lava by using only bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and food colouring. While this does cause a chemical reaction, it is relatively brief.
However, this time we added some secret ingredients and the result was fantastic! The secret ingredients ... well, they're not that secret ... hot water and dishwashing detergent.
This is how we made our erupting volcanoes.
Mould a volcano. We used some plastic bottles and surrounded them with playdough moulded in the rough shape of a volcano.
The plastic bottles are needed to hold the lava ingredients. Be sure to use playdough that you're not going to want to use again later as it does end up a little on the soggy side. :o)
The boys added small plastic dinosaurs which added drama to the activity. Poor dinosaurs ... being plastered to the outside of a "live" volcano!
Pour in some hot (NOT boiling ) water. We roughly filled our containers half-way.
Add some food colouring. Daniel opted for red while David decided he wanted blue lava. If we'd had more playdough and containers, we could have had a rainbow of volcanoes! Who said lava has to be red?
Add a couple of drops of dish washing detergent. I say a "couple" but in reality, it was probably more like a good squeeze by the time the boys had finished with it.
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda.
Now for the fun part. Pour in some vinegar. The bubbles flowed up and over the top of the volcanoes and made a spectacular display.
More vinegar can be added to create more of a lava flow.
Was this activity messy? Definitely!
Was it fun? Absolutely!
Erupting volcanoes has always been a favourite activity with the boys. However, now we know about the benefits of adding hot water and dishwashing detergent, I can see that we're going to be making a lot more volcanoes.
Which reminds me, I'm going to have to go in search of more bicarb soda and vinegar!
Please note: despite the massive amount of lava, no dinosaurs were hurt during this science activity!
Return to the Articles List for other children's book reviews or learning activities.