Fall is in the air so it’s the perfect time to make a magically erupting (surprisingly simple!) pumpkin volcano.
To make our pumpkin volcano we needed to gather a few simple supplies:
- A small pumpkin with the top cut off and the inside hollowed out
- Liquid dish soap
- Food coloring or liquid watercolors (optional)
- Baking soda
Erupting the pumpkin volcano can be quite messy so we headed outside to enjoy the sunshine.
If the weather had been rainy, we could have gone with Plan B: staying indoors but placing the pumpkin in a casserole dish to catch the mess.
Pumpkin Volcano Eruption
To make our pumpkin erupt, the kids filled the inside about halfway with vinegar.
Then, to make the eruption extra foamy and colorful, they added a squirt of dish soap and a few drops of color just for fun.
The kids mixed up the liquids with a spoon and then got ready for the really exciting part…
I asked them to make a prediction about what would happen when they added the baking soda.
They each measured out a heaping tablespoon of baking soda.
On the count of three, they dumped the baking soda into the pumpkin, stirred the mixture up, and stepped back to see what would happen next.
With a lot of giggling and cheers, we watched as a frothy bubbly mixture poured out the top of our pumpkin.
The kids LOVED it and repeated the science experiment several times.
They even experimented with making the pumpkin volcano erupt with the pumpkin top on, which was really cool, too!
The Science Behind It
When vinegar and baking soda mix together they react to form carbon dioxide bubbles. As these bubbles rise to escape the mixture they make the entire solution erupt like a volcano!
The addition of liquid dish soap makes the solution more bubbly and frothy and it makes the reaction happen a little bit slower and last a little bit longer.