Apple Volcano

This was our first full week of fall and it’s been HOT and sweltering over here.  Finally today, it feels like Fall and it’s a perfect day to celebrate apple season.  Aside from eating and baking apples, why not use some over-ripe apples to play with? Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Apple season.  So, while you are picking out your apples, get a few extra and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Apples (any variety will do)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Knife and metal spoon to hollow it out (Adult use only)
  • droppers and spoons
  • cups
  • Tray to contain the mess

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First cut the top off the apple and scoop out the insides and the seeds to form a “bowl”.  I found it easiest to cut a circle off the top and then use a metal tablespoon to scoop it out.

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This kept the top of the apple intact to use as a lid.  We saved the seeds and stem for our Exploring the Five Senses with Apples activity.

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I set up a tray with the hollowed apple, dropper, cup of baking soda, spoon and cup of vinegar (I colored ours red for fun)

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Then I invited the superheroes to play.  These little ones KNOW exactly what to do with baking soda and vinegar!

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Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.

Extension: 

There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great Halloween theme application of this is the Pumpkin Volcano, which we also did.

For my Tiny Tot class, I ended the class by reading “Ten Apples On Top” by Dr. Seuss.

For more Apple Science Activities, try the following:

 

 

Rainbow Fizzing Tray

Baking Soda and Vinegar are by far the BEST two ingredients you can have on stock for setting up some fun science explorations.  This Rainbow Fizzing Tray is EASY set up and clean-up and can keep your little ones busy for quite a while.  The tots in my classes kept wanting to do this one OVER and OVER!  And an added benefit: it makes beautiful designs!  Science and Art all in one!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Small tray/plate or cookie sheet
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring (We use liquid watercolors)
  • Droppers
  • 3-6 empty cups (or an ice cube tray)

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Add enough baking soda to your tray to cover the bottom.

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Pour vinegar in your cups and add food coloring to create your desired colors.  We used the six rainbow colors but even just the 3 primary colors will yield some beautiful results and can be a lesson on color mixing.  You can also use an ice cube tray.

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Hand your child the tray and a dropper and let them add the colors to the tray and experience the fun rainbow fizzing and eruptions!

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Drips and fizzing and bubbles and colors!

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Perfect for toddlers as well as preschoolers.

How pretty are some of the designs the tots created?

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The Science Behind the Activity:

I love activities like this because they are open ended and require no instructions for kids.  The baking soda and vinegar react in a classic acid/base reaction to release carbon dioxide gas which is responsible for the fun eruptions and bubbles.  Using droppers helps strengthen those little fingers in preparation for writing as well as developing fine motor skills.  Mixing different colors is a lesson in color mixing and experimentation.  Just SO MUCH learning to be had from a simple little tray.

For more fizzing science experiments, click on the links below:

Pumpkin Volcano

So who doesn’t love a little vinegar and baking soda action?  Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Halloween.  So, while you are picking out your pumpkins, grab a small sugar pumpkin and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Small Pumpkin (I used sugar pumpkins that were 2/$1 at our local produce stand but you can also use the small decorative pumpkins too)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Small cup (optional)
  • Syringes and droppers (optional-my kids love using these!)
  • Dish/Container to place the pumpkin in to catch the “eruption”

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First, cut the top of the pumpkin out and scoop out the seeds.

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Mini Decorative Pumpkin

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Sugar Pie Pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried the experiment by adding our “chemicals” directly into the pumpkins, but the baking soda started clumping up after awhile and it was hard to clean them out in between students.

So, we cut off the top of a small plastic cup so that it fits inside the pumpkin.  This is optional but we found that it was easier for repeating the experiment if there was a cup inside.  It is by no means necessary.

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Next, we poured some vinegar into a cup.  My superheroes chose to add red liquid watercolor to make “vampire’s blood”.  For my science class, I had 6 rainbow colors for the tots to choose from.

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Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the pumpkin

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Then add some vinegar (vampire’s blood!).  My superheroes love using droppers.

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Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!

In my Tiny Tot class, I gave each child a tray with cups of colored vinegar and baking soda for them to do some free play

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When I did this with my son’s Kindergarten class, we added some spiders and plastic eyeballs for some extra fun.

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.

Extension: 

There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great fall theme application of this is the Apple-cano, which we also did.  This time the superheroes chose “green slime” as the color of the eruption.

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For other fun Pumpkin and Halloween related science activities, try: