Make a Color Mixing Volcano

By Eliot Kersgaard

Engaging with the public is a central value of Myra Makes. By participating in events, we are able to support other educators, test our ideas, and provide direct value for kids. In early May, we held space at a table at a STEAM Family Fun Day hosted by the CU Natural History Museum in Parker, CO. At the event, we facilitated a few open-house style activities for kids. Our strategy for open house events like this one is to bring challenges from Journey to Cloud City to life with dioramas and arts and craft supplies.

The prototype of the Myra Makes kit, an expandable book that allows you to build the adventure in real life!

At this particular event, we decided to expand upon the volcano island color mixing activity found in Journey to Cloud City:

To make this activity tactile, we decided to set up a finger painting station  with just the primary colors and we built a baking soda and vinegar volcano out of arts and crafts supplies. We told the kids who came to the table that the volcano was the power source for all of the residents volcano island, but that it needed the right color of lava to make different fuels for different parts of the island.

Then, every hour, we erupted the volcano with a different color to help the island residents get all the colors they needed! We used food coloring to make the volcano erupt in different colors, and baking soda and vinegar to make the volcano erupt. Now, here’s how you can make a baking soda and vinegar volcano that will teach color mixing to your little ones!

Materials you will need:

Hot glue

An old juice or other bottle (we used a 1 liter orange juice bottle and that worked pretty well)

A piece of vinyl or other waterproof sheet to cover the bottle

Art supplies to decorate it (we used crayons which stuck to the vinyl quite nicely)

A bin to collect the lava after it erupts so it doesn’t make a huge mess

White vinegar

Baking soda

Food coloring in the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue)

All you have to do is glue the vinyl sheet in a cone around the bottle to make a volcano shape, decorate it, and you’re done! The hot glueing took a while, and we glued it from the top and the bottom to make sure it stuck. I also added a green foam core skirt to make it look like a forest below the volcano.

Next step, erupting the volcano! First, decided which color you want the lava to be. We did green, orange, and purple, the three main secondary colors. Then ask your kids which food coloring colors you need to add to make that color! You can add the food coloring first, then add the vinegar, and finally add spoonfuls of baking soda into the volcano and watch it erupt in color! We found it is best to add the vinegar first because otherwise the baking soda will form a big clump at the bottom and the volcano won’t erupt very well. There you have it! 

We hope you enjoy doing this hands-on color activity with your kids! Let us know how it works for you, and send us pictures of what you make!

Super fun for kids and adults alike

Builds 21st century skills

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About the Author:

Eliot Kersgaard is an artist and educator creating spaces in which people can pursue their creativity. He is the cofounder of Myra Makes LLC and the Assistant Director of Solutions Voyage.

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