Early Learning Science: Playdough Volcano

I'll be the first to admit I am a little hesitant to teach science to my children. After all, a D in High School Chemistry does not a good Science Teacher make! Nevertheless, I decided to reserach some fun age appropriate science projects for the kids and I to do together. Here's one that the kids loved, participated in, asked to do several times in one day!

Before you begin, gather your supplies and set-up your work space:

-empty baby food jar or tiny vase
-playdough (for making a mini-volcano)
-Vinegar (We used 2-3 tbsp each time we made the volcano errupt)
-Baking soda (We used 1 Tbsp per erruption)
-food coloring (optional, but does provide a wow factor)
-A tray with a lip on it to prevent spilling

What this activity is teaching:
Cause and Effect, Chemical Reactions, Fine Motor Skills (when you let them assist you)


1. Set your tray down on your work space (ours was our kitchen counter). Place the baby food jar in the middle of the tray. Mould playdough around the jar to form a little volcano (As Shown in the photo below.

2. Add the Vinegar first. I kind of guestimated how much-about half of the jar. Ask your kids what they think might happen when you add each ingredient.

3. Add several drops of food coloring (more is more and lots of color really makes it contrast and visually pop).

4. Add 1 tablespoon Baking Soda to the jar.

5. Watch it "expode"! The kids loved it! Lots of gasps and laughter! Be prepared to do it several times!


  1. So cool! Can't wait to try it.

  2. Oh fun! Do you mind if we add this link to our post on playdough recips and fun things to do with playdough?

  3. I was just telling my husband tonight I wanted to some "experiment" type science stuff with my daughter. This looks like so much fun, we will certainly give it a whirl!

  4. love this we have done this lots over the years and it never gets ld.

  5. I'm glad the other Katie already asked to link, cause I was going to! I got a C in chemistry so I hear you on the being a bit slow to do science activities with the kids!

  6. My boys will love this. Thank you!

  7. Making volcanoes is so much fun, isn't it?? I used to teach preschool/pre-k for many years before my kids were born and it was always such a huge hit.
    My own kids love when we do it in the sandbox. It works exactly the same way, just a sand volcano. And, being outside, there's no mess. It all eventually just fades away.

  8. Anonymous6:58 AM

    You are the BEST!! First the muffin tins, and now this...my kids are going to want to be adopted, Angelina-style. ; ) We'll try this today.

    Thanks for being so creative and wonderful and inspiring!

  9. Fun! I remember my Memaw helping me make a volcano for a science fair project.

    Oh in college you only need a D to pass, so don't feel bad :)

  10. My daughters will LOVE this! My 6 year old was asking last week to make something fizz. I added baking soda to vinegar, but it was just a BIG white fizz. This is sooo much more fun!

  11. Your chemistry grade makes you the perfect teacher! Don't doubt that.

    At home (and at the nursery school where I work) we like to put a large quantity of baking soda on trays or in the sensory table and then provide the vinegar in small squeeze bottles or even spray bottles. The spray bottles are better for outside than inside. We often color the vinegar with liquid watercolor so it's easier to see how it mixes.

    Did you know that if you add a little bit of liquid dish soap the bubbles will be smaller and the reaction slower? We like to do a lot of comparing at my house. My son also likes to make a big hill out of baking soda alone and then use a safe dropper to squeeze vinegar in until it "erupts."

    Volcanoes are cool!

    Anyway, I just found your blog the other day and I love it!


  12. How did I miss this ? I just did it in a borring old jar, I love your play dough volcano!

  13. My littlies got to do this exact project in a community based science class and they loved it! Came home with destructions for a repeat performance, but we've not got around to it yet. We never made volcanos in school in the UK, so the project was entirely new to me. Looks like awesome messy fun!

  14. I am definitely keeping this one for dinosaur camp. Thanks.

  15. Great experiment!

  16. Anonymous9:37 AM

    Thats really cool! But when you typed "a D in High School Chemistry does not a good Science Teacher make!" were you trying to quote Yoda or was that just a typo?