Lemon Volcanoes! Who knew this was a thing? It’s the perfect rainy day activity and has become one of our favorite science experiments. It’s simple, fun, and sciencey. Try it! Make your own lemon volcano. The kids’ll have a blast while learning a little something about chemical reactions. How’s that for a mom hack? Read on to find out how!
My kids are busy little people. They love staying active, running, playing, learning, and doing something at all times. So basically, they’re typical kids.
Here in New Jersey, we had a ton of rain this past season which really limited our plans. We were stuck indoors day after day and I was running out of ideas to keep them occupied. We made our own play dough, build cardboard forts, made time capsules, and watched plenty of movies. It even got to the point where I needed to implement a screen time policy (which you can download for free here). Cabin fever took over and we needed new ideas.
Citrus Volcano Experiment: The Ultimate Boredom Buster
Luckily, a friend invited us over and was prepared with a whole afternoon of science experiments! My boys said it was the best day ever. We liked the lemon volcano activity so much, we did it again on our own. It was so much fun, I had to share it with you. It’s my favorite new mom hack.
Okay, so we’ve all done the ‘ol baking soda and vinegar experiment. Fun, right? This activity is like a fun twist on that. Just swap out the vinegar for a lemon to get a similar effect that fills the room with a fresh clean scent. In fact, it’s such a clean activity, you could literally pour it out and use it to scrub your sink (definitely don’t do that if you use food coloring though)!
Here’s What You Need to Make a Lemon Volcano:
Optional (but fun):
Don’t have the items on hand? I linked them below:
Lemon Volcano Instructions:
1. Prep the lemon by rolling it on the counter. This will help loosen the juice inside.
2. Have an adult cut off the bottom of the lemon to make it flat. This is so the lemon will stand up without flopping over or rolling away. Try not to cut into the flesh of the lemon or you may end up with a leaky volcano.
3. The adult will then cut into the top of the lemon to make a hole. This is now your volcano.
4. Place your lemon volcano onto your tray. Use the popsicle stick to squish and squash the lemon pulp to release the juice. Scrape the sides along the inside of the lemon, but try not to puncture the bottom.
5. (Optional) Squeeze a few drops of dish soap into your volcano. This isn’t necessary but will make your volcano bubbly.
6. (Optional) Add a few drops of food coloring to your volcano. This isn’t necessary either, but adds a little extra pizzazz to the experiment.
7. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the lemon to activate your volcano. Watch it foam up and come to life!
9. Add in the extra lemon juice to reactivate your volcano after it settles down again. Have fun experimenting with the lemon juice and baking soda, adding a little at a time.
Alternative Lemon Volcano Experiment Options:
- Don’t feel like cutting a lemon into a volcano shape? Just cut the lemon in half and you’ll still get the same effect. We’re all about the mom hacks here. And hacks in general. It’s all good.
- If you don’t have a popsicle stick, grab a spoon instead.
- Try other citrus fruits and see which one creates the best volcano.
Citrus Volcano: Why Does It Happen?
When we add baking soda to the lemon, we’re combining citrus acid with sodium bicarbonate, which forms a gas called carbon dioxide. What we’re seeing is a chemical reaction between an acid and a base. Sounds vaguely familiar from science class, right?
Compare the results of your lemon volcano with that of a vinegar and baking soda volcano. What differences do you see? Let me know in the comments below.
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Keep teaching. Keep learning.
~Christy from Exceptional Thinkers