We’re working our way through the alphabet, and we include a sensory bin idea for each letter. This week we took advantage of the (finally!) beautiful spring weather and made a volcanic sensory bin outdoors. Do you know how to make your own volcano? It’s a fairly common science activity — but throw in some mud and it’s extra fun.
Here’s what we used to create a volcanic sensory bin for three kids (ages 2,4, and 6).
- large container of dirt (we got it from our garden)
- 3 pint mason jars (you don’t need the lids, as I found out)
- old play dough
- warm water
- dish soap
- food coloring
- baking soda
- a container that kids can use for pouring
1. Set the jars in the dirt.
1. Use the playdough to form a volcano around the mason jars. I thought my kids would like this part, but they had a hard time getting the play dough to take the shape of a volcano. I helped.
2. Add warm water to the jars.
3. Squeeze in about six drops of dishwashing liquid.
4. Add food coloring (just for fun).
5. Add about two tablespoons of baking soda.
6. Slowly add vinegar – and watch your eruption!
We removed the icky play dough, and the kids had fun repeating the experiment five more times – that’s when our baking soda and vinegar ran out!
The kids loved experimenting with different combinations of food coloring. This was an exceptionally pretty result.
By the way, I did explain that the “volcano” is the result of a chemical reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar which produces carbon dioxide — leading to bubbles.
I don’t think anyone heard me.
Afterward, they were left with all this glorious mud.
They got right to work scooping it out.
Mud soup was on the menu!
Messy play is not my favorite thing in the world, but now that the weather is so nice I’m ready for the kids to start enjoying this sort of fun in the great outdoors. After six years of parenting I finally invested in rain boots this year (what took me so long??), and now I can stop freaking out about nice shoes getting ruined. Also, right after I snapped this picture, I sent my daughter inside to change out of her nice school clothes.
The fun continued for quite some time!
Need more ideas for learning fun outdoors? Follow me on Pinterest!
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