How to Build a Volcano

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.

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

I thought it would be fun to make a volcano at home.  Today’s experiment is from Oh, Yuck! (affiliate link) by Joy Masoff. This experiment is called The Amazing Exploding Zit. Since my youngest is five and thankfully not dealing with acne, we are modifying it and re-naming it The Gross Volcano.

(video tutorial for baking soda + vinegar volcano project)

Building a Volcano


  • Toothpick or plastic utensil
  • Green and yellow food coloring
  • Paper cup
  • Funnel
  • Empty plastic bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Squirt of whipping cream
  • Sand/dirt
  • Vinegar lets make a volcano for kids


Fill 1/2 of your plastic bottle up with baking soda. Next, put a few squirts of whipping cream on top of the baking soda. Finally, mix up the food coloring in the paper cup with the toothpick/plastic utensil and add it to the top of the bottle.

kids science volcano experiement

The directions for this experiment suggests using a baking sheet to construct a mound of dirt/sand around the bottle, but I think that might be a bit messy…so outside we go!

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.

Once you have created your mountain with just the bottle top showing, fill the bottle up with vinegar.

There she blows!

I like how the addition of whipping cream makes this a less violent explosion. The green and yellow food coloring do add to the gross appearance of the lava.

The entire directions for The Amazing Exploding Zit are available on Scrib.d along with a bonus experiment called The Mound of Make-Believe Mucus which looks super fun.

It is pretty awesome to discover what happens when vinegar and baking soda hang out together…and add a little whipping cream and it can get fabulously gross.

4 days later teeth whitening

About Holly

Kids Activities Blog is Holly's blogging home.

She is the mom of three boys ages 7, 10 and 12 who partially homeschools. She believes that you shouldn't have to buy stuff to have fun when there is a kitchen junk drawer full of possibilities.

She can also be found at Business 2 Blogger, on Twitter as @QuirkyMommaSite or @Texasholly, but her favorite place to hang out is on Google +.