Need a super simple baking soda and vinegar volcano recipe? This one takes about three minutes to prep (and the kids get to help). It uses six common ingredients, and there is no mess to clean up afterward! If simple and no cleaning is music to your ears, you’re in the right place. We’ve made this five times in the past two weeks, so it’s definitely a loved activity here.
I have always loved making volcanoes with my kids, but they can be time-consuming and require lots of prep. Well, “lots” may be stretching it, but in my world, if it’s not simple, it doesn’t usually happen. The sad truth is that while I’ve thought about making a volcano tons of times, I’ve only made it happen a few. I wanted to change that by making it a super easy process. I hope you absolutely love it!
Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano
How do you make the easiest volcano recipe in the world?
- Plastic cup (We tried a water bottle, but the plastic cup worked much better)
- 3-4 Tbs of baking soda at least (we usually do 4-6 which makes it extra foamy and will do 2-3 eruptions)
- 1 tsp of dish soap
- 1/2 oz to 2 oz of Washable Paint, depending on the intensity of the color desired
- 1 cup (8 oz) of Vinegar to start with per eruption…then they’ll be asking for more 🙂
Location: an area with pea gravel, sand, or dirt
Start off by combining the “base ingredients.” Put the water inside of the plastic cup. Fill it about 2/3 full. Add the baking soda, dish soap, and washable paint. By using washable paint, you don’t have to worry about any staining on the rocks (or little fingers) that food coloring might cause. I tried liquid watercolor as well, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as the washable paint.
While you mix the base ingredients, have the kiddos make a mound out of pea gravel (or you could certainly do this with dirt). Once you have a mound, put the cup on top of it, and turn it into a mountain. How easy is that!
We give it a good stir just before adding the last ingredient. Now it’s time for the eruption! Pour in the vinegar until it starts foaming over, pouring it’s lava all over the rocks.
The pictures really don’t do this justice, but our pea gravel mountain was just under a foot tall (30 cm).
Here’s our bubbly red lava taking over the rocks. In the background here, I’ve been hearing “there she blows!”
It is also super fun to mix up the colors a little bit! We can pour the vinegar in about three times before we need to add more baking soda to our solution.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano Video
Want to see it in action? Here’s the video!
Since we can’t get enough of this, here are some more snapshots of our other volcano eruptions.
What does it look like afterward? Here’s a picture of ours once we took away the plastic cup. You can hardly even tell we did anything, and the rocks must be nice and clean with the baking soda and vinegar. If the washable paint doesn’t come off the rocks right away, it will within a few days or the next rain.
So there you have it — the easiest volcano recipe ever…that you can make on a whim! If you are looking for more science experiment ideas, I highly recommend The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8.
If you want to see what this looks like with dirt, check out these fun volcano posts!
Easy Backyard Volcano by Mom with a Lesson Plan
Erupting Volcanoes in Preschool by Teach Preschool
Or if you have the time to make it a little fancier, here are some more great ideas:
Build, Paint, and Erupt Volcano by Fun at Home With Kids
Erupting Volcano Dinosaur Printable from Fun at Home With Kids
Comparing Homemade Volcano Recipes by Still Playing School
How to Build a Volcano by Kids Activities Blog
Ice Volcanoes by Reading Confetti
Messy Play Fun with Shaving Cream from Fun-A-Day!
Erupting an Easy Homemade Volcano by Mom to 2 Posh Lil’ Divas
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