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Lots O' Lava

I haven't met a kid yet who hasn't had fun doing this. It sneaks in math and science without them even realizing it.

Use this in conjunction with a study of volcanoes, geology, or geography. It can be used as well when studying such places as the Phillipines, the state of Washington, and the Polynesian Islands of the south Pacific.

I would recommend that you do this activity outside. The lava seems never ending when you are trying to keep it contained on a tray inside.


1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup dishwashing liquid (the cheap stuff)
damp sand, dirt, or clay
empty soup can with only one end removed
food coloring*


1. Mound up the dirt, sand, or clay around your can to create a volcano shape. Keep the dirt out of the can. You don't want the can to be visible, but it should be clean on the inside so that it doesn't impede the chemical reaction.

2. Place the baking soda in the can.

3. Mix together the water, vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and food coloring.

4. Slowly pour the vinegar mixture into the baking soda in the can. Watch the oozing eruption!

*Now here's a fun variation. For lava I normally use red or orange food coloring. But, for a change my kids also like to use blue or green. The green especially is disgusting looking. The first time we made green "lava" It made my son howl with laughter! It drew our neighbor over and I spent the next 15 minutes re-explaining the whole thing to her kids.


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