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How to Build a Volcano


One of the very best science projects of all time is the volcano experiment for kids. We have built a homemade volcano several times and here is how to make a volcano the easiest way. A DIY volcano project is a great STEM activity for home or in the classroom. Let’s make a volcano!

Let’s explore how to make a volcano!

How To Build a Volcano

We usually do this volcano building science experiment outside because it does create a mess.

Related: Free volcano coloring pages

Our step by step pictures for this volcano project show how it can be done inside with the least amount of clean up needed!

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Supplies Needed for DIY Volcano

Watch Our Quick Video Step by Step Tutorial for Kids Volcano

Instructions for Building a Homemade Volcano

Step 1 - Homemade Volcano - bottle neck shown just above a dirt mountain ready for the next step in the science experiment
This is the first step in making your own volcano!

Step 1

Use the dirt to build a mound around your plastic bottle to create the look of a real volcano with just the neck of the soda bottle sticking out of your dirt mountain.

Tip: We found that placing the bottle cap on the bottle during this step kept dirt from getting inside your volcano.

Step 2

Add the baking soda to your bottle using the funnel so it sits on the bottom of the bottle floor.

erupting volcano - final step of volcano making process - dirt volcano shown with colored foam trailing down the dirt mountain on several volcanic streams
Look at our homemade volcano erupt!

Step 3

Add a couple of drops of food coloring to the vinegar. Then pour the colored vinegar into your bottle (using a funnel if necessary) and watch the reaction happen!

Why the Volcano Erupts

This easy volcano experiment for kids is based on a simple chemical reaction of vinegar and baking soda. When you add the vinegar to baking soda it creates carbon dioxide gas that expands quickly filling the available space inside the bottle and then overflowing down your homemade mountain creating a volcano.

How to Build a Volcano

Outdoor Volcano Experiment for kids

When we make our volcano outside as pictured above, we usually leave the vinegar un-colored because the foaming white vinegar and baking soda combination oozes over the dirt in a very satisfactory way!

Variations on this Science Experiment

  1. Change the ratio of baking soda to vinegar and see what happens.
  2. Try different sizes of bottles buried inside your dirt mountain. Can you tell which bottle is larger or smaller based on the size of the volcano eruption?

Related: Use our scientific method steps printable for kids

Prep Time
10 minutes

Active Time
10 minutes

Total Time
20 minutes

Difficulty
easy

Estimated Cost
$1

Materials

  • A few drops of red or orange food coloring
  • 1 Tbsp Baking soda
  • 2 cups Vinegar

Tools

  • Funnel
  • Empty plastic bottle with cap
  • Sand/dirt
  • (Optional) Shovel

Instructions

  1. Place the cap on your plastic soda bottle and bury it under a pile of dirt or sand with the neck of the bottle sticking out of the dirt mountain.
  2. Take the cap off the bottle.
  3. With a funnel, add your baking soda to the bottle.
  4. Add a few drops of food coloring to your vinegar.
  5. Pour the colored vinegar into the bottle using a funnel if needed.
  6. Watch for the chemical reaction!

Our Experience with Volcano Experiment for Kids

My boys have been obsessed with volcanoes for awhile. I think it all started on our road trips between Dallas and Colorado several times a year.

1. Real Life Volcanos are Closer than You Might Think

Just off the highway in Capulin, NM is a volcano.

Capulin, NM is interesting because it is the only “hill” for MILES and MILES.   It is in the middle of nowhere. The Capulin volcano hasn’t erupted in years – 58,000 to be exact.

This was the initial inspiration to make a homemade volcano. So, we put together our supplies and got to work!

2. What I Learned Making a Volcano with Younger Kids

Rhett (age 5) created a volcanic mountain of dirt burying the bottle. If your helper is a small child, I suggest replacing the bottle cap during this process so that dirt doesn’t become part of your eventual lava.

It is pretty awesome to discover what happens when vinegar and baking soda react.

volcano experiment for kids

This Volcano Science Experiment is in Our Science Book

Our book, The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments, features tons of awesome activities just like this one that will keep your kids engaged while they learn.

More Easy Science Experiments from Kids Activities Blog

How did your volcano experiment turn out?





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