My son loves science experiments, and the messier, the better! After perusing Pinterest for some inspiration, I came across the genius idea for a DIY volcano, with lemons! It’s super easy and you will likely have what you need laying around the house.
The science behind this experiment is your classic acid-base chemical reaction. The lemon juice’s citric acid reacts with the baking soda and creates carbon dioxide (a.k.a. the fun bubbles and oozing!). We decided to make our DIY volcano experiment all the more messier by adding some washable paint and soap to the mix. After all, I suspected my kids would want to see some lifelike, bubbly red lava erupting from their volcano.
While crafting, you and your kids might want to take a moment to learn some fun facts about this meal’s featured ingredient:
- Lemons are high in Vitamin C and have strong antibacterial properties that may help fight some diseases.
- Lemons grow on trees that produce the fruit year round.
- It is believed that the first lemons were grown in Asia.
- Lemons have a sour taste because they contain citric acid.
Corresponding Recipe: Three Cheese Pasta with Lemon, Cherry Tomatoes & Asparagus
Skills supported: Fine motor (measuring, pouring), following instructions, scientific inquiry and problem-solving
- 1-2 lemons
- Knife & fork
- 1 T dish soap
- Food coloring or Crayola Paint
- 1 T baking soda
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Consider setting up the craft before cooking so that your kids can get to work right away.
- Slice a thin layer off the bottom of a lemon so that it can sit upright without tipping over, and then slice the lemon in half.* The half with the flat bottom will be your volcano. NOTE: This slicing should be completed by grown-ups.
- Place the lemon volcano on a plate. Stab and carve into the exposed side of your lemon volcano with a fork to create space for the volcano to absorb the baking soda. Juice the other half of the lemon and collect the juice in a bowl or cup.
- Add a squirt of dish soap and a couple drops of red/orange food coloring or paint into the lemon volcano. The dish soap will add extra bubbles during the eruption and the paint will give your volcano it’s colorful “lava!”
- Add the baking soda to the lemon. Pour the lemon juice into the lemon and watch the lemon volcano erupt! Encourage kids to adjust their quantities of baking soda and lemon juice to alter the rate of volcanic eruption.
- Talk to your kids about the acid-base chemical reaction! The lemon juice’s citric acid is reacting with the baking soda and creating carbon dioxide (a.k.a. the fun bubbles and oozing!).
*For toddlers especially, these tasks may require adult supervision and/or assistance.