Did you know you can make a volcano erupt using playdough, baking soda and vinegar? Try this hands-on kids science activity and make learning fun! My kids really enjoyed making colorful playdough volcanoes. We used a few simple ingredients we had in the kitchen to create fizzy chemical reactions!
This fun science project is a great way to introduce kids to chemistry. Furthermore, you can teach your kids how to create a hypothesis and write a lab report, to turn it into a thorough experiment.
How to Make a Playdough Volcano
To make a playdough volcano, first you’ll need to gather some basic supplies. This activity demonstrates the simple chemical reaction caused by mixing baking soda and vinegar.
Supplies: plastic tray, playdough, baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, red glitter
Hypothesis: Mixing baking soda and vinegar inside a playdough volcano will cause it to erupt into fizzy bubbles.
First, you’ll need a quantity of playdough. You can either use multiple jars of store bought Play-Doh or make a batch of homemade playdough. Keep in mind the playdough will get soggy during this experiment.
I recommend making a batch of homemade playdough, to create a decent amount. Furthermore, kids can pick their favorite colors of food coloring to mix into the homemade play dough. You can find my favorite homemade playdough recipe here.
Shape the Volcano
Begin with enough playdough to form a small or medium mountain-shaped volcano. Volcanoes can be all shapes and sizes, with sloped sides and even situated on an island. Next, create a small hollow in the top of the volcano, to hold a scoop of baking soda. Be sure to place your volcano on a tray with sides, to keep the baking soda and vinegar eruption from spilling onto the floor.
Create a Playdough Volcano Chemical Reaction
Next comes the fun part! Scoop a spoonful of baking soda into the top of your playdough volcano. Additionally, mix a small container of vinegar with a few drops of food coloring. Carefully pour the colored vinegar into the top of the volcano. When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda, it will create a fizzy chemical reaction.
My kids used multiple colors of playdough to shape their play dough volcanoes. The colorful vinegar really made these bubbly volcanic reactions stand out!
Repeat the Eruptions
We learned that we could do this chemical reaction over and over again. We experimented with different colors of vinegar and different amounts of baking soda. My kids even sprinkled some red glitter over the top of their playdough volcanoes, and watched it flow in sparkly streams down the sides.
My kids learned that more baking soda created larger, longer lasting eruptions. Alternately, the eruption was smaller when they scooped less baking soda into their playdough volcanoes.
Contain the Chemical Reaction
Building these volcanoes on tray is very important to contain the baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction. Furthermore, the liquid causes the sides of the playdough volcano to get sticky. However, we discovered we could carefully dump the liquid off the tray. We could also allow the volcanoes to dry out, for later use. My kids played with their playdough volcanoes for several days in a row, until we ran out of baking soda and vinegar!
Creative Fizzy Science
Easily make playdough volcanoes using any color of playdough. Using homemade playdough is helpful because you can mix up a large quantity. Alternatively, you can also use several jars of store bought Play-Doh.
Kids will have a blast making their play dough volcanoes any shape or size, with a hollow in the top to hold the baking soda. Mix white vinegar with food coloring, and pour on different colors of vinegar to watch the playdough volcano erupt!
White vinegar mixed with blue food coloring makes this play dough volcano look like its situated in the ocean. The spots of red glitter look like traces of lava.
Kids can easily do this fun science activity on their own with a little bit of instruction. Making playdough volcanoes erupt with baking soda and vinegar is also fun to do with friends! Additionally, this interactive project goes well with a unit study about volcanoes. It’s always a win to combine chemistry, earth science and fun!
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, creative projects, taking photos and traveling. I’ve previously worked as a web designer, journalist and barista. I hope you enjoy our creative projects and family adventures!