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Make Your Own Erupting Volcano Out Of Play Dough

My son is enthralled by all things science related.  Whether its watching astronauts brushing their teeth on YouTube, teaching me everything he knows about outer space, or making a tornado in a bottle – his love of science has driven his eagerness to learn and discover how things work.

We are always trying to find new ways to nurture his passion for science. He usually comes home from preschool asking if he can ‘do science’. He has become really interested in volcanoes and is fascinated with how they fire out lava. Needless to say he was pretty desperate to try and recreate this at home and as it’s a pretty cool science experiment, I was more than happy to feed his curiosity.

Before I start, I know a popular way to do this is by making a papier-mâché volcano. However, as the main purpose of this activity was to see how we can make a small eruption, we used homemade play dough instead. So while our volcano was a bit rough around the edges, it did the job and Jack was pretty thrilled with the effect.

If you’re keen to have a go at this easy science experiment, here’s what we did


  1. A plastic bottle
  2. Baking soda
  3. Vinegar
  4. Tin Foil
  5. Scissors
  6. Orange food colouring (optional)
  7. Homemade play dough
  8. Large roasting tin or a deep tray
  9. Jug
  10. Funnel (optional)


  1. Cut the middle out of the bottle to create two sections – the top and base each measuring around 5 inches in height
  2. Add around 3 tablespoons of baking soda into the base of the plastic bottle then place the cut-out top of the bottle on top of the base so that it is over-lapping to create a funnel.
  3. Wrap tin foil around the bottle so that it makes the shape of the volcano.
  4. Either roll out the play dough or use your hands to carefully mould the play dough onto the foil. We used our hands to make the volcano look really rough and ready.
  5. Mix approx 4 cups of vinegar with a few drops of food colouring to get the desired colour (this is optional). You will only need around 1 cup to make the volcano erupt. I gave Jack a little at a time in a jug to make it easier to pour in.
  6. Have the kids pour the mixture into the top of the volcano and watch them be amazed as it erupts!
    Tip –Use a funnel to pour in the mixture as this may make it easier.

We had a serious amount of fun making this volcano and watching it erupt. It’s a brilliant science experiment for pre-schoolers and we can’t wait to make it again.

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