We’ve spent what feels like the last two months completing volcano activities. I’m sure it was really only a few weeks spread out as I got the materials, but it’s felt like forever in our science lessons.
Hey, Future Ticia 2022 here, I’m updating this to share it again, and there is a bunch of out of date materials, and things that are discontinued, so I’ll be popping in from time to time when I need to update information)
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Volcano activities for kids
First we read the chapter about in CKE Earth and Space about volcanoes and all the cool stuff that goes with them.
That part in our Illuminations schedule (sadly this product no longer seems to exist) we actually completed on time. Then I sat there not having the materials for the hands on activities for a couple of weeks because I kept forgetting to buy it at the grocery store.
Not a proud homeschooling Mom moment.
Volcano activity 1: Seeing how an eruption can work by creating stream
I saw this activity over on Highhill Homeschool (link at the bottom of the post, I’m lazy), and I
think know hers turned out better.
Supplies needed: pot of water, funnel, aluminum foil, and a stove
Take a piece of aluminum foil and poke a hole in it for the funnel to stick out. Then put the second layer of foil underneath with a smaller hole (I’m not sure this step is necessary for some pots, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t have the funnel fall into the pan).
Then wrap the foil around the pan.
Once this set up is done, light the fire and wait a few minutes to call your kids over. If you call your kids over too soon they’ll be standing around waiting for the pot to boil. And then you have impatient kids, and your volcano activity will not go well.
As you’re waiting the kids might decide to be silly and hold their hands up like they’re warming themselves at a fire. Or maybe that’s my kids. Your kids might be serious. I don’t know what that’s like at all.
Eventually you’ll see steam coming out of the funnel because of the increased pressure, then you can explain to your kids all about how the steam is coming through because of the pressure caused by the water boiling. This is similar to how a volcano works. Your kids will of course be impressed.
Or not so much. So I decided to go with a variation off the baking soda and vinegar volcano.
Volcano Activity 2
This one didn’t work so well. We’ve successfully done it before, but this time I didn’t have the ratios quite right.
Supplies: empty plastic bottle, cork, vinegar, baking soda, toilet paper
- Fill the bottle with vinegar part way up.
- Find a cork that fits snugly in the mouth of hte bottle, but doesn’t fall through. That last bit is important, our bottle had a cork floating in the vinegar.
- Pour baking soda onto a piece of toilet paper and wrap it up loosely.
- Place the bottle in an open area ourside, then drop the paper in and put the cork on tightly.
- Stand back and wait for the cork to pop off.
And then we waited, and waited. For over 10 minutes. If you’ve done this correctly the entire thing takes less than a minute. I’ve done it many times successfully, that was not the day for it.
I think it went wrong because I had too big of a bottle and not enough vinegar, so it could not build up enough pressure. Or the cork did not fit tightly enough.
This activity was meant to simulate how a volcano first forms, and how the top of a mountain can go from being solid rock to spewing lava everywhere. Sadly my demonstration skills were not up to snuff that day.
Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve failed with this activity, this is my failure from a few years ago.
But, a few tries later it did work.
Demonstrating lava flow
Supplies: butter, flour, small bowl, larger plate, butter melter
The concept is simple, show how lava flows by simulating a lava flow.
- Melt a stick of butter in a pan on low heat. I love my butter melter. It seemed like such a frivolous impulse purchase when I first bought it, but I use it all the time. It’s perfect for this activity because of the pour spout.
- Mound some flour around a small bowl or cup (mine are these condiment cups, and it’s another impulse buy I’ve loved way more than I thought I would).
- Slowly pour the melted butter over the flour mound. Let hte kids talk about what they notice as they watch the butter move.
Some great discussions were had as we did this volcano activity:
- Does the butter lava flow where you expect?
- How does the butter lava change the flour mountain’s shape?
- How does the butter lava change as it interacts with the flour?
Final volcano activities
Our final activities were not quite so hands on as the first volcano activities. I gave in to the kids telling me non-stop about the Magic School Bus episode and we watched “The Magic School Bus Blows its Top,” the kids were happy as clams.
So volcano activities resources
This is Future Ticia 2022 adding these in here, because mentioning the Magic School Bus video got me thinking about all the great books and resources you might use. Most of these books I’m listing came from my local library, and I’ve got a printable over in the resource library (join my newsletter!)
- Hill of Fire– a fiction book about a volcano erupting in a small village in Mexico
- The Krakatau eruption– I love this true book series
- Mountains gush lava and ash– Sadly out of print, but a good nonfiction book
- A trip to the top of the volcano with mouse: a TOON book-a fun fiction book exploring our world with a whimiscal take
- Volcano wakes up!– poetery explains how volcanos work from several different points of view
- Volcanoes!– The exclamation point is very important, also this si another great series of nonfiction books, this is a different cover from teh one my library has, so I don’t know for sure if it’s the same one.
- Volcanoes– No exclamation point on the cover, but the official title has one, also National Geographic is a good standard for nonfiction books
- Volcanoes– Back when I taught public school this was the GOLD STANDARD of nonfiction books for early elementary
- Volcanoes!: mountains of fire– another series I always know is good
- Why do volcanoes erupt?: questions children ask about the earth- sadly out of print
- Magic Schoolbus blows its top– I love Magic Schoolbus books, and if you want they have a really cool Magic Schoolbus volcano kit
- Magic Schoolbus Season 2– this apparently is where you get the volcano episode
I also picked up a Montessori printable, I love their 3 part cards for identifying parts of things, and the cards are perfect for the kids to finally learn the names of the volcano parts. Besides which they now have a fun book to put in their notebook. Future Ticia 2022, cannot find where I found those.
For more volcano activities
Follow Ticia Adventures in Mommydom’s board Earth Science for kids on Pinterest.
In other bits of news for the week.
This past week was Princess’ birthday party, which meant the kids happily decorated. Our parties are never “pinterest worthy” for pictures, but they’ve got a lot of heart in them, and a lot of fun. Besides they have so much enthusiasm as they went through the house festooning it in streamers and balloons. 2 whole rolls of streamers, and over 60 balloons. I’d include more pictures, but I’ve misplaced my cord to move pictures from my camera, so you’ll have to make do with these pictures.
Oh, and I got a new shipment in from Low Country Eclectic, I ordered a Batman necklace for me (because I saw it was there and HAD to have it), but really because I wanted to get a couple of necklaces for Christmas presents for friends, and they were running a special at the time (she’s got a different one now I believe).
In school work, I had the kids retake their test after they’d learned how to take notes, and the child who hadn’t lost his test got 100%. The other two had managed to lose their notebooks and didn’t do as well. But after going through and correcting every bit of their test from the text I think they’ll take me a bit more seriously on that front.
This was the week of earth science projects as we finally got all caught up on our CKE Earth and Space. So we learned about all sorts of water stuff, different rocks, and generally made a serious mess in the kitchen (which rather countered my serious cleaning I had planned for the week).
We did stop for an early Christmas craft, because I’ve been feeling rather Christmasy, and made a pine cone Christmas tree for Froggy’s Best Christmas.
I’m looking forward to getting our tree today and decorating it, and starting the Advent Season.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
I love your volcano activities. Happy Birthday, Princess!! You look like you have had a very fun week.
It really was a fun week, if a little tiring.
MaryAnne @ mama smiles says
I like your butter lava.
I thought that was the most effective of the demonstrations.
Almost Unschoolers says
Watching a pot boil…BWA-ha-ha! There are always those experiments that just don’t POP. So glad to know I’m not alone in the world 🙂
Until you typed that I hadn’t put it together in my head we were literally watching a pot boil.
Natalie PlanetSmartyPants says
Love Princess cake – she must have had an amazing birthday. Volcano activities are fun, but I am so done with baking soda/vinegar combo 🙂
I know what you mean, but my kids always enjoy them.
Marie-Claude Leroux says
We’ve had a few less than exciting baking soda & vinegar experiments over the years – but once in a while we got the full effect, thank goodness they have some successes in their memory banks! Happy Birthday to Princess – looks like lots of fun!
It sure was. Though, I’ve decided from here on out her birthday parties will not be near her real birthday because that was so stressful.