Summer is the right time to get kids' hands dirty and involved in learning! An open space that that can be get messy (or left dirty) can become the canvas for explosions and explorations. We decided to do some easy chemical reactions and see the results.
I have always wanted to try the erupting volcano experiment with my kids so we decided to gather the simple ingredients and head to the backyard.
If you want to try this, here's what you need:
- A flat surface (we used a cookie pan covered in aluminum foil)
- Tall jar or bottle
- Baking soda (quarter cup)
- Water (quarter cup)
- White vinegar (quarter cup)
- Red food coloring and dishsoap (not necessary, but way more fun)
- Dirt, sand, or clay for volcano making
THE ERUPTING VOLCANO
In the bottle or jar, add 1/4 cups baking soda and water. Squirt in red food coloring and a strong squeeze of dishsoap. These will add foam and drama to your explosion. Put the lid back on the bottle or jar.
Using sand, dirt, or clay, mound up around the bottle. We used potting soil and water to build up the volcano sides. Once those are in place, take off the lid and pour in 1/4 cup of vinegar. The eruption is quick but not overwhelming. The kids wanted to touch the "hot lava" right away and were surprised that it smelled so good. :)
THE EXPLODING GEYSER
This next experiment we did right after the volcano because the kids wanted a bit more drama to the eruption. Have you done the Mentos candy in bottle of soda? Really, it's super fun and surprising to the unsuspecting.
To make the exploding geyser, you'll need:
- One pack of mint Mentos
- 2L bottle of soda (Diet Coke works the best)
- A piece of paper and tape
- A business card or strong piece of cardboard
Place the soda on a flat surface. Roll a piece of paper in to a tube to a size that fits the Mentos inside. You want to be able to drop all of the candies in at the same time for the most dramatic effect. Keep a card over the top of the soda until you're ready to let the Mentos drop in. Be ready to flee quickly once they drop in!
The explosion is no more than five seconds, but we've watched the replay over and over again!
These two simple and quick experiments delight on the cheap. Make them a part of your 18 Summers Challenge (even if you've already done them before!).
P.S. We have fantastical bubbles and wands coming your way tomorrow. They are SO much fun. Stay tuned.
P.P.S. The newsletter is on its way, too, with prep for next week's Out of this World adventures.