Last week we played with baking soda and vinegar to make fizzies. This week we are taking the same basic concept and adding another chemical to make an exploding volcano. This fits in nicely while we learn about the letter V. You can certainly find more sophisticated volcanos to make on other sites, but for my 2.5yr old twins, this simple volcano worked great. I took a small plastic cup that and placed it on a rimmed baking sheet so the overflow would stay contained (HaHa.) I added baking soda, several drops of food coloring (but not enough to make it red like I wanted) and a few squirts of liquid dishwashing soap. I carried it over to the kitchen table and molded some tin foil around the cup to look somewhat like a volcano.
I talked with the boys about volcanos, about how the earth made mountains, about the center of the earth being hot lava. After I talked about volcanos exploding, I poured vinegar into our cup. Out came a lot of bubbly liquid that I told them was like pahoehoe lava, the smooth kind. The ohs, ahs and laughter flowed as much as our lava did. I kept adding vinegar in small amounts to keep the eruption flowing. Big air bubbles were forming and the boys just loved popping the bubbles. I told the boys a story about when mommy and daddy went to a real volcano and daddy burned his finger while sticking it down in an air vent, much like they were sticking their fingers in to pop the bubbles. They thought this was funny and kept saying loudly “Daddy pop bubbles too!” Some of the bubbles stayed intact as they slid down the side. Remember me saying that I used a baking sheet to catch the overflow? Well just like a real volcano, it made a mess everywhere. It flowed so much it went onto the table and then onto the floor, much to the delight of my boys.
When the volcano was cleaned up, we made ourselves a little volcano that would really blow and left spots all over that looked more like the aa’ lava. I put some of the left over baking soda dishwashing soap mixture into a plastic soda bottle. Obviously we went out on the back porch. I added the vinegar, put my hand over the top and vigorously shook. The boys ran into the dog house and peered out at me while laughing. It blew alright. All over me, the side of the house and our clothes. It wasn’t a lot, but wow it flew and splattered everywhere before calming down to an arching flow out of the bottle. Sadly, I don’t have pictures of that. I was smart enough to leave the camera inside to stay dry and clean. We did look at the spots of “lava” everywhere and I explained that the aa’ lava was kinda like that because it was rocky and chunky looking when it dried. I’m happy that it’s been raining off and on today because the rain is washing off all the lava from the house and patio.
My husband has said that many of the engineers that he works with all have admitted to playing with fire and explosives as boys. My twins love anything that explodes, fizzes or pops. Maybe I’m looking at two future engineers. Maybe I’m looking at two chemists. Whatever direction their lives take, we are certainly enjoying this stage of exploring and learning.