Learn how to make a Salt Dough Volcano for Kids at home with a few basics and have hours of fun building and playing with your kids.
Kids science volcano activities are the best at all ages! Whether I make this with my 4-year-old boy or school-age girl, both love seeing the magma erupt from the crater and ask for more and more eruptions.
Also, making a volcano for kids is fun. It’s not only about science but also sensory play as you build each part of the volcano using different materials.
How to make a volcano for kids?
Here I am sharing my favorite option. We called this a salt dough volcano as we used our easy salt dough recipe to build the volcano chamber.
The good news is that building a homemade volcano for kids is super easy. You only need a few things, and I provide below some swaps and options if you don’t have some of the tools.
Ingredients for volcano chemical reaction
All you need to make the volcano eruption are two ingredients that, when combined, form a chemical reaction and create a gas called carbon dioxide.
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Dish soap
- Optional: Add a few drops of red food coloring in the crater to turn the lava into a red color.
Building the volcano
In order to build your volcano or this salt dough volcano, you need:
- The top part of a water bottle. This is to make the volcano chamber and crater.
- A balloon to seal the bottom of the cutter water bottle.
- A batch of our easy salt dough recipe for the volcano body. Don’t worry! It’s essentially a few cups of water mixed with flour and salt, nothing fancy or hard to make!
Building the Volcano
First, cut the neck of a water or soda bottle. The longer you cut yours, the taller the volcano. But it also means you will need to pour more vinegar into the volcano to make it erupt.
So depending on how much of each ingredient you have at home, adjust the height of your volcano.
You can also fill the crater of your volcano with rocks or dough if you realize later you didn’t have enough baking soda or vinegar.
Then, cut the top of a balloon and wrap the balloon around the cut part of the bottle to seal and form the volcano chamber.
Now, use the homemade salt dough to pat around the bottleneck and form a volcano shape.
We also added a few drops of food coloring around the volcano crater, so the lava turns red when it explodes from the crater.
Finally, place the salt dough volcano in a plastic bin or large container.
It’s a messy science experiment, so it’s better to place your volcano in a plate or bin to ensure the vinegar doesn’t run on your floor or grass.
Even if you are making this outside, the acetic acid in vinegar burns grass or discolors surfaces like wooden decks. So better to make this in a plastic bin!
Now, add a mix of vinegar and water to the crater along with drops of dish soap.
In another bowl, make some baking soda slurry by mixing water and two tablespoons of baking soda.
To make the volcano erupt, pour the baking soda slurry in the center of the crater.
Baking soda and vinegar form an explosion when it comes together, and the dish soap thickens the stream to look like lava.
Wear glasses and keep your head away from the top of the crater to avoid any incident. If some product goes in your eyes, wash with cold water immediately or check a GP.
You can repeat this science project many times, adding more vinegar or baking soda in the crater to create more eruptions.
If you want to store the slat dough volcano for longer, air dry for 24 hours for the salt dough to harden, or bake removing the plastic bottle in the center – don’t put plastic in the oven!
Salt dough swaps
You can make the volcano chamber with other materials, including:
- Homemade playdough recipe
- Cloud dough
I hope you enjoyed making this classic science volcano experiment for kids! Share a comment or review below to connect with me!
Salt Dough Volcano
- Empty water bottle
- 1 Batch Salt Dough
- 1 teaspoon Dish Soap
- ¾ cup White vinegar
- ¼ cup Water
- 3-4 drops Liquid Food Coloring
Baking soda slurry
- ½ cup Baking Soda
- ½ cup Water
- First, make a batch of salt dough following my recipe.
- Cut the top of a plastic bottle. Remove lid.
- Cut the top of a balloon and wrap the balloon to the bottom of the cut bottleneck to seal it - see my video or picture above for visual help.
- Wrap the bottleneck with salt dough to shape a volcano and drop some food coloring on top to make it look like lava. Air dry for 24 hours if you want the volcano to harden and reuse in the future - I didn't wait!
- Place the volcano in a large plastic bin or container to prevent the eruption from covering the floor or grass - vinegar kills the grass of your garden.
- Now, fill the volcano crater with water, vinegar, drops of food coloring, and dish soap.
- In another bowl, prepare the baking soda slurry by mixing baking soda and water.
- Now, wear safety goggles to avoid projection in your eyes or your kids' eyes and keep the head away from the top of the volcano.
- Finally, pour the slurry into the crater to make the volcano erupt.
- Repeat, adding more vinegar or baking soda to create more eruptions.