Science at home: Volcanic Eruption

Here’s a simple, very cool experiment Middle brought home from preschool.

  • First, paint cardstock stapled together to form a flat-ended cone (the end should be big enough to fit a cup inside. We used a Dixie Cup.)
  • Next, place the cup inside the middle circle and place it inside a large pan or plate. Volcanic lava, you know, runs and spills.
  • Place 2 Tablespoons* white vinegar in a cup. Add optional food coloring. Pour into cup in volcano.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon* Baking Soda
  • Discuss what happened.


*if you’re using a bigger cup, you’ll need to guestimate the amount of vinegar and baking soda to make it erupt.

Why this works: In Chemistry, we learn about mixing chemicals. In this case, the chemicals vinegar and baking soda mix to form a gas, which causes bubbles in the liquid. The bubbles grow bigger than the cup and makes it erupt.

Now, if you want to get preschool technical, ask your kids for other examples of when bubbles make something bigger. Some examples may be bubble bath (mixing the water with the soap), blowing bubbles and shaking a soda bottle. Bubbles fill with air/gas and take up more room.

This is a great rainy-day experiment. Its also very fun to do as a volunteer in a classroom. I don’t know a child that wasn’t super-excited to watch a volcano erupt.

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mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel ( and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2010, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.


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