Summer Fun for Kids: Make a Paper Bag Volcano

Make a paper bag volcano in your backyard or on your kitchen table and watch the littles' eyes widen when it actually erupts!

volcanoes

What could be more fun on a lazy day than helping the littles construct their own erupting (!) volcano? We love this project because it’s fun, messy and educational…what more could a parent (and kids) want?

Materials: 

  • paper lunch sack or small paper bag
  • scissors
  • tape
  • empty plastic water bottle or soda bottle
  • white vinegar
  • food colouring
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (plus more for step 9)

Protocol:

Step 1: Invert the brown paper bag and cut or tear a small triangle off one corner to form a hole. This will be the mouth of the volcano.

Step 2: Tear, cut, fold, crumple and tape the bag to form a cone shape that will sit over the bottle, with the mouth of the bottle sticking out through the cut corner of the bag, but don’t tape the bag to the bottle. Decorate your volcano.

Step 3: Remove the bottle from the bag and fill it half-way with vinegar.

figure-1

Step 4: Add several drops of food colouring to your “lava”.

figure-2

Step 5: Place the bag back over the bottle to hide the lava container.

Step 6: Tape a piece of paper together to form a cone with a hole in one end that will fit inside the mouth of your volcano (and lava bottle). You’ll use this as a funnel to add the baking soda.

Step 7: Place the volcano on a tray or container to contain the overflow.

Step 8: Start the eruption by quickly pouring 1/4 cup of baking soda through the cone and into the volcano. remove the cone immediately.

Step 9: When your volcano stops erupting, try adding more baking soda to see what happens.

figure-3
Safety Tips & Hints:

Vinegar can sting your eyes.
Don’t worry about making your volcano perfect. It will get soaked!

The Science Behind the Fun:
The volcano you constructed erupts when the baking soda combines with the vinegar to produce bubbles of carbon dioxide gas, which is one of the gases spewed by real volcanoes.

Real volcanoes erupt with much greater force. When Krakatoa erupted in 1883, the explosion and resulting tsunamis killed around 40,000 people, forever changed the geography of the East Indies, spewed tons of sulfur dioxide and ash into the atmosphere, and resulted in some of the most spectacular sunsets in recorded history.

Special thanks to our friends over at Quarry Books for sending us a copy of Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke

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