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As grandmas, we have A LOT of life under our belts, which we want to share with our grandkids and other people we love. One of these universal life lessons is that learning doesn’t have to be a chore – it can be pretty darn fun!
To demonstrate this to your grands (or to have a fun afternoon project that you can do with them!), introduce them to pumpkin volcanoes – where science meets crafting! (Seriously, is there a better place to be?)
- Small to medium-sized pumpkins (either real or plastic will work)
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- A few drops of dish soap (optional, for an extra bubbly reaction)
- Food coloring (optional, to make the ‘lava’ a fun color)
- Glitter (optional, for a sparkly touch)
- A tray or baking dish (to contain the mess)
- Measuring spoons and cup
1. Pumpkin prep
Start by cutting the top off your pumpkin and – if you’re using a real one – scooping out the insides. (If you’re using a plastic pumpkin, just make sure it’s clean inside.)
If you are using a real pumpkin, place it on a tray or baking dish to help contain the mess when the volcano erupts.
3. Make the mixture
Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda into the pumpkin, as this will be the base for the chemical reaction.
4. Soap and sparkle
Add a few drops of dish soap if you want your eruption to be extra bubbly, and sprinkle in some glitter if you want a sparkly lava! (This step is totally optional but adds to the fun! :P)
5. Color it up!
If you’d like to add a color to your eruption, put in a few drops of food coloring. Reds and oranges are great for a lava look, but you can let the grands pick their favorite colors.
6. The eruption
Here comes the most exciting part: Slowly pour white vinegar into the pumpkin and watch the bubbly reaction take place. It’s like magic, but it’s science!
7. Talk about it
Once the initial excitement settles, take a moment to chat with your grandkids about the reaction, explaining that the combination of baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) produces carbon dioxide gas, causing the bubbly eruption.
8. Go again!
The best part is, if you have more baking soda and vinegar on hand, you can do the experiment again and again! Let your grandkids take turns and see if they can make bigger or different-colored eruptions.
There you have it: Not only do you get to enjoy a fun and festive experiment, but it’s also a great way to introduce basic scientific concepts to your grandkids in an engaging way. The wonders of science mixed with the charm of fall – what’s not to love?