Tiffany Doerr Guerzon
No Jurassic-era play activity would be complete without a volcano! This one is made of clay and the eruption is created with a vinegar/baking soda reaction.
- Air dry clay (about one pound)
- Small glass candle holder (these small glass cups used for votives can often be found at dollar stores)
- Tempura or acrylic paint (one color for the volcano, plus red, yellow and orange to represent lava)
- Baking soda
- Baking dish (disposable aluminum baking dishes work well for this project)
- Red liquid food color
Build your volcano inside the baking dish so that you don’t have to move it later. Place the glass votive holder in the center of your baking dish and then mold the clay around the glass votive holder in a mountain shape, leaving the center open. Paint with acrylic paints if desired. Allow to dry; this clay is thick so it will probably take two to three days. I recommend painting the clay right after molding because it saves a step!
To erupt the volcano:
- Add 1/4 cup baking soda to the glass cup inside the volcano.
- Add a few drops of red food color to 1/2 cup vinegar and mix.
- Pour a little of the colored vinegar into the glass cup and watch it erupt! When the fizzing dies down, add more vinegar. This amount is enough for 4 or 5 eruptions.
Remember to save your volcano to use again later! Any of these activities will keep kids busy — and learning — during the slow days of summer.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2018, and updated in February 2021.