Vinegar and Baking Soda Volcano Experiment

School will be ending soon but this doesn’t have to mean that the learning has to stop. Keep your little ones engaged and interested in science with this explosive experiment.

You will be creating a mock volcano with ingredients that are already in your kitchen so you don’t have to break the bank on this activity. But be warned, this science experiment can get a little messy so make sure you do it on an easy to clean surface or outside.

erupting-volcano-project

The actual science behind this is a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar. It produces carbon dioxide gas, which builds up pressure inside the container, eventually forcing the mixture out in a volcanic explosion. Carbon dioxide gas is found in real volcanoes which makes this experiment realistic You can add red food coloring for a more dramatic looking lava if you wish.

You will need to start with the container or “volcano” that houses the ingredients. If you have the time and materials, a more realistic looking volcano can be constructed using paper mache or clay around the vessel holding the ingredients. You can use anything from an old soda bottle with the top cut off to a mason jar.

Start by mixing together the vinegar, dish soap and food coloring in a separate container that is easily pourable. Give it a few stirs to ensure that everything is evenly distributed. Next take the baking soda and place it in whatever vessel you have designated as the volcano. The beauty of this experiment is that it takes about five minutes of prep time and can be repeated over and over to the delight of your children. You can make bigger batches of the lava ingredients to create a more substantial flow from larger containers. For the grand finale just pour the liquid mixture into your baking soda. But be sure to stand back because this volcanic explosion could possibly splatter you. Goggles are also advised.

To occupy more time you can mess around with variations of this experiment. Let your children try putting the vinegar inside the volcano first and pouring in the baking soda second. Try different proportions of the ingredients and let them see how the reactions differ. You can add different shades of food coloring like blue or purple and glitter to create a galactic volcanic eruption. The best things about this experiment are that it can be repeated over and over again and it’s non-toxic.

What you will need:

  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp. red food coloring (if desired)
  • A few drops liquid dish soap
  • 4 Tbsp. baking soda, NOT baking powder