Volcanic Eruptions

Activities & Days Out / 12 July, 2020 / Nanny Anita

Volcanic Eruptions: Set Your Own Volcano Off in This Simple Science Experiment

We are back to an oldie but a firm favourite activity of mine; setting off volcanoes. This was one of the shows I use to do onboard Disney Cruise Line and everyone loved doing them, although the clean up was a real pain. We used to get the eruptions to hit the ceiling! Although EC’s and YC’s didn’t managed to explode that way, they certainly had an amazing time and kept re doing the experiment until we ran out of ingredients.

Make sure you follow our science board on Pinterest for more ideas and don’t forget to pin the Pin at the bottom of the page.

To set off your own volcanic eruptions you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Container*
  • Jug
  • Water
  • Food Colouring
  • Large deep tray


* one container we used was a plastic volcano from a set we had and the other was a glass coke bottle. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as it has a smaller neck and opening than the base.

The last three items on the list are totally optional; on the paper I wrote out ‘name of volcano’, ‘age of volcano’, ‘location’ and ‘what does it erupt?’ EC and YC then came up with their own answers; the wilder the better. EC decided that his erupted melting hot poo and lava, while YC’s erupted snow. The answers I used to get on the ship were fantastic.


The lick-em-stickems are to decorate the surrounding area around the volcano, again this is a chance to let their imaginations free. EC surrounded his with sea monsters.

Fill your container with vinegar and food colouring; every time that you repeat the experiment (make sure you rinse it out before you add new vinegar) you can change the amount you put in to see if that creates a smaller or bigger reaction.

EC's sea monsters surrounding his under water volcano.

EC’s sea monsters surrounding his under water volcano.

In your jug of water add your bicarb of soda and mix; again the amount you add is something you can experiment with. EC came to the conclusion that you needed less vinegar and more bicarb of soda for the best reaction.

Add your solution to the vinegar, then stand back and watch the reaction take place.


The science behind it:

Bicarb of soda is a base while the vinegar is an acid. When you add them together they create carbonic acid, this instantly breaks down into water and carbon dioxide, this creates the fizzing foam as it escapes.

EC and YC never seem to get tired of watching this reaction happen; we have used this chemical reaction in a few experiments and I am sure that we will be using it again, either to set of bigger and better volcanoes or in some other form.

Pin for later:

Exploring volcanic eruptions with this simple science experiment using baking soda and vinegar.

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