Updated: Jan 25, 2019
Happy New Year's! This post will have 10 engaging learning activities related to volcanoes. These activities will be for children birth through school aged, many of these activities will have variations making them suitable for multiple age groups!
1. Make your own Volcano infants+
Material you will need: Vinegar, tray, Baking soda, red food coloring, Brown Play dough/cardboard or cup/bowl.
If you're doing this with an infant who is not sitting up yet, you can simply have they explore the play feeling of the play dough (Although your probably better off making your own play dough rather than using store bought in case they put some in their mouth), bowl, cup and cardboard
If you are doing this activity with an older infant they will need to sit in a high chair near a table. Once you have the materials on the table, place your infant into a high chair near the table. Show them the play dough/cardboard or cup/bowl you will be making the volcano out of and allow them to explore it. Next if you are using cardboard or play dough, you will have to make a round shape so you pour the vinegar and baking soda in. If you are using a cup/bowl you will allow the baby to feel the baking soda before you pour some into the volcano. Then you will pour some vinegar into a clear cup/bowl/measuring cup and add red food coloring to it, showing the infant the red "lava". Next you will pour the vinegar into the volcano and have the baby watch the "eruption" and bubbles that come out of the top of the volcano. This will help expose them to new words!
If you are doing this activity with a 1 or 2 year old, you will need have them sit at a table with the materials in front of them. First you will have to make your volcano or place the bowl/cup in front of them. Then you may allow them to scoop some baking soda into the volcano (they will likely need help). Next you will pour some vinegar into a clear cup/bowl/measuring cup and add red food coloring to it. Then you will show your toddler and tell them, the vinegar is now red like lava before pouring it into the volcano. As it erupts help your toddler learn new words by describing to them what is happening. Is it bubbling? Is the red lava coming out?
If you are doing this activity with a 3 or 4 year old, they will have to sit at a table with the materials in front of them. First you will have to help them make the volcano with play dough/cardboard or just use a cup/bowl (maybe try to find a brown cup/bowl to match the color of a volcano). Then you may allow them to scoop some baking soda into the volcano (they may need a little help). Next you will pour some vinegar into a clear cup/bowl/measuring cup and have the child add red food coloring to it. Explain to them that this will be the lava. Then you may have the child pour the vinegar into the volcano and watch it erupt!
If you are doing this activity with a 5 year old or older child, they will be able to help you gather the materials and set up for the experiment. They will need minimal assistance with making their volcano and scooping the baking soda into the volcano. for 5-6 years old I would either use a small bottle of vinegar or pour some out for them to use. If you tell them the steps of adding the baking soda, the pouring vinegar into a cup/bowl and adding the red food coloring before adding it to the volcano. They will almost be able to do the experiment themselves.
2. Volcano facts and quiz 3 years old- 3rd grade
This link has a PDF which you can download and print with a short fact sheet and quiz about volcanoes which I made: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Adaee18a2-9af9-41ac-bfd3-5dcab09b196e
If you are doing this activity with a 3 year old- 5 year old, you will likely need to read it for them or help them read the information. The quiz for them should be verbal. If you are doing this activity with a 1st grader they may also have a hard time reading some of the information and will likely need some help with writing the answers. A 2nd or 3rd grade child will likely be able to read the information on their own and write the answers without needing help.
3. Colorful volcano 2 year old+
For this activity you will basically do the same thing as with the making your own volcano however, instead of using only red, you will use multiple colors. You can pour in two colors an once to see how they mix or do it one at a time and see if they mix on the tray.
4. What are the parts of a volcano 3+
Here are some questions to consider as you look over these diagrams of volcano parts with your child. How many parts of a volcano are there? What do they look like? Where are the different parts located?
This link is a wonderful diagram for school aged children to label the parts of a volcano and match the definitions.
5. Drawing a volcano 3+
Materials needed: Paper, crayons/colored pencils/markers
Have the child draw what they think a volcano looks like. Then show them a picture of a volcano. Finally compare the two: What is in their picture? What color is their pictures?
6. Writing about a volcano 4+
If you are doing this with a 4-5 year old have the child write a sentence about a volcano. If you are doing this activity with a 6 or 7 year, have them write 2 sentences about a volcano. If you are doing this with a 8 year old or older child, have them write a paragraph about a volcano. Then discuss if it is fiction or nonfiction? Why?
7. Telling stories about volcanoes Infants+
Create your own story about a volcano and tell it your child. Was it a big volcano? Did it erupt? What kind of Volcano was it? Where was the volcano? Older children can add parts to story or even make their own story up.
8. A few great books for infant-school aged children!
- Infants-2 year olds: The Ultimate Book of Planet Earth by Anne-Sophie Baumann
- 2-3 years old : Volcano Wakes Up! By Lisa Westberg Peters
- 3-4 year olds: The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top by Gail Herman, DK Ultimate Sticker Book: Volcano
- 4-5 year olds: DK Readers L2: Eruption!
-5+: The Krakatau Eruption by Peter Benoit
9. Become a Volcanologist! 3+
-Younger children can dress up as Volcanologist wearing gas mask, lab coats or or regular clothes and pretend to be exploring a volcano.
-Older children can learn about the risks and education needed to become a Volcanologist. Here's two links: https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/it-dangerous-work-volcanoes-what-precautions-do-scientists-take?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-kind-school-training-do-you-need-become-a-volcanologist?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products
10. Learning more about Volcanoes 3+
Here are some questions and links to help you and your child learn more about volcanoes!
Can a Volcano eruption trigger another near by volcano to erupt?
How many active volcanoes are there on Earth?
Do Volcanoes effect weather?
What are the benefits of Volcanic eruptions?
The difference between magma and lava is that magma is molten rock underground and lava is molten rock above ground.