How to Make a Volcano for Children

Updated April 17, 2017

Every child should be given the opportunity to cause a volcano to erupt. This project is a thrilling science lesson in chemistry, as well as a study of geological earth formations. Construct this project within a short period time and with the assistance of younger children for an entertaining afternoon. Experiment with the eruption by adding different colours of food colouring for the lava. You can also try to add small objects, such as miniature figurines or rubber snakes, to the lava for an interesting touch.

Place a 3-by-9-by-13-inch cardboard tray on a flat surface.

Position a 454gr. paper cup upright in the centre of the tray. Attach the base of the cup to the tray using hot glue.

Layer a sheet of heavy-duty aluminium foil over the tray from the right side over to the left side. Add a second layer of foil that is overlapping the first one if the foil does not cover the entire tray. Allow the foil to form a mounding shape as it rests on the rim of the cup.

Fold the foil over each of the four sides of the cardboard tray. Add hot glue underneath the folded edges of the foil and secure it to the tray.

Find the centre of the opening of the cup and poke a hole through the foil. Tear the foil in an 'X' shape up to the rim of the cup. Bend the foil down into the cup. Add hot glue beneath the folds of foil to attach them to the cup.

Take the volcano outside to a grass-covered area or place it on a protected surface.

Pour 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar, 3 drops of dishwashing liquid, 4 drops of red food colouring and 1 tsp of glitter into the cup. Stir the ingredients. Cause the eruption of the volcano by adding 4 tbsp of baking soda.


You can cause the volcano to erupt several more times by adding the chemicals again, until the foil collapses under the weight of the "lava."


Do not add the baking soda until you are completely prepared for the volcano to erupt.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-by-9-by-13-inch cardboard tray
  • Hot glue gun
  • 454gr. paper cup
  • Heavy-duty aluminium foil
  • 1/2 cup distilled vinegar
  • 3 drops dishwashing liquid
  • 4 drops red food colouring
  • 1 tsp glitter
  • 4 tbsp baking soda
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About the Author

Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.