What's Your Question?

15 Amazing Facts About Volcanoes

how to do a volcano project

Volcanoes and earthquakes have filled human beings with fear and fascination since the beginning of time. Read on for many interesting facts about volcanoes, plus some related information about earthquakes.

Kicking off our fun facts about volcanoes is Mauna Loa in Hawaii. This is an effusive volcano, which means that lava flows or pours out rather than erupting violently. The lava can melt, burn and destroy houses, farms, roads and everything else in its path.

how to do a volcano project

Mount St. Helens

When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it created over 490 tons of ash that covered 22,000 square miles and affected cities up to 370 miles away.

how to do a volcano project

Tectonic Plates

About 80 percent of volcanoes and earthquakes occur near where two tectonic plates meet.

Yellowstone National Forest

A supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Forest drives the hot springs and other geological activity in the park. Yet Yellowstone’s volcanic activity remains mysterious, as scientists are still exploring the pit of magma known as the Yellowstone Caldera.

how to do a volcano project

How High Can Volcanoes Shoot?

Strong eruptions of volcanoes can shoot debris up to 20 miles into the sky.

The Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania erupts black lava.

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius was the most dangerous volcano in Europe.

Volcanic Winter

A volcanic eruption in Peru in 1600 caused a volcanic winter.

The Ijen Volcanic Complex in Indonesia oozes blue lava.

Cacophony on Krakatoa

The 1983 eruption on Krakatoa created the loudest sound ever measured.

Bonus Volcano Facts

Bonus round time! Now that you’ve learned some amazing facts, we’ve dug deeper into the earth’s core to deliver another quick 25 facts about volcanoes. Ready, set, go! The Earth’s surface is known as the crust. Plates are the giant cracked pieces of the crust. Magma flows underneath the crust, and is called lava when it is above the surface. The edges of the plates are breeding grounds for volcanoes. Volcanoes can also form on top of mantle plumes, which are extremely hot areas inside the Earth. Over 50 U.S. volcanoes have erupted at least once in the last 200 years. Volcanic ash can cause the engines of airplanes to fail. The root of a volcano can be buried 40 to 120 miles inside the Earth. The central vent is a channel inside the volcano where magma erupts. The lava can flow through a large crack called a fissure in the earth. Temperatures in the mantle can get as hot as 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Natrocarbonatite is a rare type of lava found only in northern Tanzania.

Bonus Facts, Continued

Even more bonus volcano facts ahead! Ancient Aztecs believed that beautiful people were to be thrown into volcanoes as a sacrifice to the gods. The word volcano comes from the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. One in 20 people lives in a danger zone close to a volcano. People live there because the soil is rich and fertile. Maleo birds hatch their eggs using heat from volcanoes. Volcanoes can also be found on the ocean floor. We know of about 80 volcanoes in the ocean. Lava can reach a temperature of 2,282 degrees Fahrenheit. A horseshoe-shaped formation in the Pacific Ocean known as the Ring of Fire contains 90 percent of the world’s volcanoes. Four types of volcanoes exist: cinder cones, shield volcanoes, composite volcanoes and lava volcanoes. There are 1,150 active volcanoes in the world.


The 1960 earthquake in Chile was the most severe of the 10 largest earthquakes recorded.

San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas Fault in California moves about two inches per year.

Good Friday Earthquake

The largest recorded U.S. earthquake was on Good Friday, 1964, in Prince William Sound in Alaska.


how to do a volcano project

Enter your email to download PDF and receive updates from OSMO

Scan to get started.

The Assessment App is available only on the Apple App Store . Please scan the QR code below with your iPhone device to download the app.


How To Make a Volcano for Kids

Want To See A Volcano Erupt Up Close? Make Volcanoes Erupt In Your Backyard With The Volcano Science Experiment . The best way to help your child learn puzzling acids and base concepts is by conducting a simple volcano experiment for kids at home. A baking soda vinegar volcano is the best way to teach children about the chemical reaction between acids and bases. Help your child learn how to make a volcano for kids.

  • Things You Need For The Volcano Science Project

A Step-By-Step Guide On How to Make A Volcano For Kids

The science behind the volcano eruption experiment, 5 creative ways to make a volcano at home.

A volcano science experiment is a great way to help children understand the lesson on acids and bases. Help your child understand the chemical reaction between acids and bases using this simple science experiment for kids at home. 

Things You Need For The Volcano Science Project 

Making a volcano at home is an easy and fun project to do with your kids. Here is a list of things you need to perform the volcano science project. Most of the materials on the list are inexpensive and easily available. In fact, you might even find them in your pantry.

Things You’ll Need For Volcano Experiment For Kids:

  • 100 ml of warm water
  • 10 ml of dish soap
  • 400 ml of white vinegar
  • Empty 2-litre soda bottle
  • 2 drops of red food coloring
  • Baking soda slurry ( ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup water)

Wondering how to make a homemade volcano? It’s pretty simple. Here is a step-by-step guide to performing the volcano science experiment with your kids.

  • Step 1: Mix the dish soap, water, white vinegar, and food coloring and pour it into the empty soda bottle.
  • Step 2: Make a baking soda slurry with ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup water. Mix it thoroughly with a spoon, until it’s completely dissolved.
  • Step 3: Now, it’s eruption time! Quickly but carefully pour this slurry into the bottle and step back.  Now, watch the volcano erupt and spill out red lava!

Download How To Make Volcano Printable

The volcano science experiment will leave your kids in awe as the homemade volcano erupts and spills out red lava. Help them understand the science behind the experiment by asking them questions and giving them hints. Here is a list of questions to help you start.

  • What did you learn from the volcano eruption experiment? 
  • Why do you think the liquid in the soda bottle erupted when you added the baking soda slurry to it?
  • How does the volcano science project work?

The homemade volcano erupts because of a chemical reaction between an acid and a base. The acetic acid present in the vinegar reacts with the sodium hydrogen carbonate in the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide. The base (sodium hydrogen carbonate) undergoes a decomposing reaction when it is exposed to the acid. This produces a gas called carbon dioxide, which causes the homemade volcano to “erupt!” The dish soap becomes foamy and the bubbles and spill out like lava.

Do you know there are several ways to make a volcano at home? Now that you know the science behind volcano eruptions, here are 5 more ways to make a volcano at home!

Tape Volcano

Things you need:

  • Tall plastic container
  • Baking soda
  • Acrylic paints
  • Plastic plate


  • Step 1: For this baking soda vinegar volcano, tape the top of your tall plastic container to the side of your plastic plate. The plate serves as the base for your volcano. Continue to add tape around your container in this fashion. 
  • Step 2: Paint your ‘volcano’ with acrylic paint. (We recommend using brown paint) 
  • Step 3: Once you’re done making your volcano, add a few drops of baking soda and vinegar inside the volcano and watch it erupt! You can add some red food coloring to make the volcano look more realistic with red lava spilling out.

Ice Volcano

  • Plastic wrap
  • Small bowls
  • Step 1: To build an ice volcano, place a ball (that doesn’t float) at the bottom of each bowl. Line each of these bowls with plastic wrap. 
  • Step 2: Next, add a mixture of baking soda, water, and food coloring to these bowls so that they completely cover the ball underneath. 
  • Step 3: Place these bowls in the freezer for some time. 
  • Step 4: Once they’re frozen, pry out your ‘volcano’ from the bowls and add a few drops of vinegar into it. Your ice volcano will erupt as soon as the vinegar touches it!

Sand Volcano

  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • Empty plastic bottle
  • Red/orange food coloring

Instructions: Want to build a sand volcano in your backyard? Here’s how you can do it. 

  • Step 1: First, place an empty plastic bottle in a mound of sand. 
  • Step 2: Use a funnel to add some baking soda to the bottle. 
  • Step 3: Mix some food coloring and vinegar together and pour this mixture inside the bottle and watch your volcano erupt!

Mini Volcanoes

  • Red, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink food coloring

Instructions: Here’s how to make a volcano for kids using an egg carton. 

  • Step 1: Cut out the bottom of each egg holder in your egg carton and flip it over. You’ll notice that each slot now looks like a mini volcano. 
  • Step 2: Pour some baking soda into each slot. 
  • Step 3: Then, add some colored vinegar solution (vinegar + food coloring) into the slot. You can create several different colored eruptions in this way. The colorful eruptions will leave your child in awe.

Newspaper Volcano

  • Large plastic bottle
  • Cellulose adhesive

Instructions: Make a volcano at home using newspaper! 

  • Step 1: First, place a bottle in the middle of your cardboard base. Apply the adhesive paste all over the cardboard and glue the crumpled newspaper over it. 
  • Step 2: Then, glue the newspaper around your bottle too, and paint the entire structure to ensure it looks like a volcano. Set it aside and allow it to dry for a couple of hours or days. 
  • Step 3: When it’s ready, ask your child to pour the baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring into the bottle to make the volcano erupt.

We hope you enjoy making these volcano science projects with your little one. These experiments hone their understanding of science and instill in them a sense of creativity and imagination. 

For more fun kids learning games and activities, check the rest of our website!

Frequently Asked Questions on How To Make a Volcano for Kids

What are the materials used for making a volcano for kids.

The materials used for making a volcano for kids are luke warm water, white vinegar, soda bottle, dish soap, red coloring solution, and baking soda slurry.

How To Make a Volcano for Kids?

To make volcano for kids, firstly take a soda bottle and mix water, dish soap, food coloring and white vinegar. Then, make baking soda slurry and add slowly to this solution. Let the children watch the volcano erupt and understand the concept of eruption properly.

Science Fun

Science Fun

How to make a Volcano

  • 10 ml of dish soap
  • 100 ml of warm water
  • 400 ml of white vinegar
  • Food coloring
  • Baking soda slurry (fill a cup about ½ with baking soda, then fill the rest of the way with water)
  • Empty 2 liter soda bottle


NOTE: This should be done outside due to the mess.

  • Combine the vinegar, water, dish soap and 2 drops of food coloring into the empty soda bottle.
  • Use a spoon to mix the baking soda slurry until it is all a liquid.
  • Eruption time! … Pour the baking soda slurry into the soda bottle quickly and step back!


How it Works:

A chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda creates a gas called carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the same type of gas used to make the carbonation in sodas. What happens if you shake up a soda? The gas gets very excited and tries to spread out. There is not enough room in the bottle for the gas to spread out so it leaves through the opening very quickly, causing an eruption!

Extra Experiments:

1. Does the amount of vinegar change the eruption? 2. Does the amount of water change the eruption? 3. Does the amount of baking soda change the eruption?


how to do a volcano project


previous experiment

Next experiment.

  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes New
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • Science Experiments
  • Junior Science Experiments

How to Make a Volcano

Last Updated: November 1, 2022 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Bess Ruff, MA . Bess Ruff is a Geography PhD student at Florida State University. She received her MA in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. She has conducted survey work for marine spatial planning projects in the Caribbean and provided research support as a graduate fellow for the Sustainable Fisheries Group. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 48 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,028,496 times.

A volcano is a fun science project, especially for kids. You can easily make a volcano if you need a project idea for a science fair! Make your own dough out of common household items and shape it into a volcano. Then, paint the volcano to make it more life-like, and add your ingredients for the eruption!

Mixing the Dough

Image titled Cook a Vegan Potato Cake Step 1

  • The dough will be hard to mix after a few minutes, so you might want to ask for help from a parent, teacher, or older sibling.
  • Make sure to knead the dough on a sturdy surface, such as a table or counter. 4
  • Using a rolling pin to flatten and knead the dough may also be helpful.
  • If the dough is still dry, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it sticks together.
  • Be careful not to add too much water or the dough may become sticky!
  • If the dough still feels sticky, add 1 more tablespoon of flour and knead. Keep doing this until it feels smooth and does not stick to your hands.
  • Don’t add too much flour or the dough will not stick together.

Creating a Volcano Shape

  • If you are using a tray, make sure to ask your parent or guardian first. Don’t use one that you might want to use again because attaching your volcano to the tray will ruin it.
  • The lid of a cardboard box will also work, but make sure to ask a parent or guardian first!
  • Ask for help from an adult or older sibling if the dough is too stiff to shape!
  • There are several different types of volcanoes. Some have steeper slopes than others, and some are even flat at the top. You can shape the dough to look like a specific type of volcano, but keep in mind that most will have an uneven surface and won't be completely flat.
  • This part can be hard. Ask for help from your parents or someone else with strong hands if you cannot get the cup or jar to go down into the dough.
  • Make sure to ask for your parent or guardian’s permission before you use a cup or jar! It will become part of the volcano and you won’t be able to use it again.
  • Keep in mind that volcanoes are not perfectly smooth! They are rocky and rough on the outside, so it is okay if your dough is a bit bumpy.
  • Remember that you can make your volcano look like a specific type of volcano if you want to get technical, or just make a standard volcano. Search for images of volcanoes on the internet to find 1 that you would like to model your volcano after.

Painting the Volcano

  • The clay will feel hard to the touch when it is dry. Check it after about 8 hours by pressing it.
  • If the dough is still soft after 8 hours, give it a few more hours to dry.
  • Make sure to put down some old newspapers or paper towels before painting to protect your work surface.
  • You might also want to put on an old t-shirt.
  • Opt for a bright orange for a vivid contrast to your brown or black paint on the outside of the volcano.
  • You can make orange paint by mixing equal amounts of red and yellow paint.

Image titled Make a Volcano Step 12

  • Place the volcano out of the reach of pets, such as up on a high shelf or closed room.
  • You can touch the paint to see if it is dry. It will feel tacky if it is wet and smooth if it is dry.

Making the Eruption

Image titled Make a Volcano Step 13

  • Baking soda is a common household item, so you probably have some.
  • Ask a parent or guardian before you use the baking soda.
  • Any type of dish soap will work! Use whatever is in your kitchen.
  • Make sure to ask for permission from your parent or guardian first!
  • If you have orange food coloring, you can also use this to color the lava.
  • Don’t add the vinegar until you are ready for the eruption! You can leave the other ingredients in the volcano for as long as you need until you are ready to make the volcano erupt.
  • You can pour in extra vinegar if there is still some baking soda in the bottom of the jar.

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

Expert Q&A

Bess Ruff, MA

  • If you don’t want to make your own dough and form a volcano, you can add the eruption ingredients to an empty 2 liter (0.53 US gal) soda bottle. The ingredients will cause a volcano-like eruption out of the top of the soda bottle! [11] X Research source Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2

how to do a volcano project

  • Ask a parent or guardian for permission before you do this experiment. You may also need help from an adult for some parts of the experiment. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 7
  • Don’t look down into the volcano while it erupts! Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 10
  • Stand back after you pour in the vinegar! Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 12

Things You’ll Need

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

Shaping the Volcano

  • A tray or box lid
  • A small plastic or glass cup
  • Brown paint
  • Orange paint
  • Paintbrushes

Making the Volcano Erupt

  • 2 TBS baking soda
  • Red food coloring
  • Yellow food coloring
  • 1 fluid ounce (30 mL) of white vinegar

You Might Also Like

Grow Bacteria in a Petri Dish

  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑

About This Article

Bess Ruff, MA

To make your own volcano out of dough, start by adding 3 cups of flour (360 grams) and 1 cup of salt (273 grams) to a large bowl. Then, mix in 1 cup of water (240 milliliters) and 2 tablespoons of oil (30 milliliters). Once the dough is too stiff to keep stirring, shape it into a ball with your hands, and press it into the center of a tray or piece of cardboard. Then, gently shape and mold the dough until it looks like a mountain. You can complete your volcano by pressing a small glass cup or jar into the center of the mountain, which will make the "mouth" of the volcano. When you're done, let the dough dry overnight. Then, paint your volcano brown and black, with yellow and red accents near the opening to look like lava. To make your volcano explode, pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda (14 grams) into the mouth of the volcano. Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap (5 milliliters), and a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to make the foam look like lava. Finally, pour 2 tablespoons of vinegar (30 milliliters) into the opening and wait for the volcano to erupt! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Ali Ahmed

Apr 29, 2017

Did this article help you?

how to do a volcano project

Sabah Hamza

May 8, 2018


Nov 23, 2017

Fathima Maryam

Fathima Maryam

Jun 7, 2017


Jul 25, 2016

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

How to Easily Get Rid of Mold in Your Bathroom and Shower

Trending Articles

What “New Relationship Energy” (NRE) Really Means

Watch Articles

Clean Costume Jewelry

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Don’t miss out! Sign up for

wikiHow’s newsletter

Accept cookies?

We use cook ies  to give you the best online experience and to show personalised content and marketing. We use them to improve our website and content as well as to tailor our digital advertising on third-party platforms. You can change your preferences at any time.  

Popular search terms:

  • British wildlife
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur
  • Explore the Museum


British Wildlife


Human evolution

  • What on Earth?

During Beta testing articles may only be saved for seven days.

Create a list of articles to read later. You will be able to access your list from any article in Discover.

You don't have any saved articles.

How to make a volcano

Volcanic eruptions are one of the most powerful natural forces on our planet.

Making your own miniature erupting volcano is a great, safe way to start learning about these incredible geological features. 

Watch the video above to find out how to make a volcano model from household items, then stand back and watch it erupt.  

Read on for written instructions and to discover more about volcanoes.

How to make an erupting volcano model

For the volcano model:.

  • Two A3 sheets of card
  • 200 ml plastic bottle
  • Paint and paintbrushes

For the eruption:

  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 tbsp washing up liquid
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red food colouring

1. Place your bottle upside down in the centre of a sheet of card and draw a small circle around the neck.

2. Cut a straight line through the card to the middle of the circle, and cut it out.

An upside down bottle is used as a guide to draw a circle on paper. The circle is cut out using scissors.

In the middle of the card, draw around the bottleneck and cut out the circle

3. Overlap the two sides of the card to make a cone shape. Tape this into place, leaving a hole where you cut out the circle. Cut around the base of the cone so that it sits flat, but make sure that it is still taller than your bottle.

4. Place the cone over the bottle. Tape the top of the paper cone to the neck of the bottle to hold it in place. Tape the base of the cone to the other sheet of card.

5. Use paint to decorate the cone and make it look like a volcano. Allow your model to fully dry. 

The base of a paper cone is cut with scissors to remove the paper's corners

Cut away the card at the base of the cone so that it sits flat

6. In a bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid. Add the water and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into your volcano.

7. In a cup, mix together the vinegar and food colouring.

8. When you're ready, pour the vinegar into the bottle with the bicarbonate. Wait for it to erupt and watch how the lava flows.

9. Experiment with different amounts of bicarbonate and vinegar and see how the volcano's eruption changes.

Coloured vinegar is poured into the top of a paper volcano

Stand back and watch your volcano erupt

Take care when handling the eruption ingredients and stand back when watching the eruption to make sure you don't get any in your eyes. Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area.

To make cleaning up easier, it's best to stand your model on a wipe-clean surface.

What is a volcano?

Rather than being one solid surface, Earth's crust and the uppermost parts of the mantle (together called the lithosphere) are broken into several tectonic plates that float over the asthenosphere. This is a deeper layer of rock that is a solid but flows very slowly.

This slow process moves the plates further apart (divergent boundary) or closer together (convergent boundary), or causes them to slide past each other (transform boundary).

Volcanoes typically form at divergent and convergent boundaries, but are also seen in hot spots in the middle of tectonic plates. 

A view of Mount Fuji from across a lake

Mount Fuji is one of the world's most famous active volcanoes. It last erupted in the early 1700s and is located about 100 kilometres from Japan's capital city, Tokyo, although some smaller cities sit much closer. © Marion & Christoph Aistleitner via Wikimedia Commons ( CC0 )

Volcanoes are an opening of the Earth's crust through which molten rock, gases and ash can escape. This mixture of materials is called magma while it's underground, lava when it is erupted and igneous rock once it's cooled and solidified on the surface.

Volcanoes are typically high ground or mountains, sometimes with very steep sides made from the magma that erupted.

Types of volcano

Volcanoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, primarily caused by the different types of magma, but also by how volcanoes behave and where they're located.


Stratovolcanoes are the most common and perhaps most recognisable type of volcano. Stratovolcanoes are steep-sloped and cone-shaped. They are also known as composite volcanoes.

They mostly produce explosive eruptions and are most commonly associated with convergent plate boundaries. Their lava is sticky (viscous), which means that it doesn't usually spread too far before cooling on the surface, giving the volcano a tall and cone-shaped profile.

A side-by-side comparison of Mount St Helens before and after its 1980 eruption

Mount St Helens, a stratovolcano in the United States, famously erupted in May 1980. An explosive lateral blast occurred when a strong earthquake caused a massive landslide that collapsed the northern face of the mountain. This reduced pressure and allowing the volcano to explode from its side. © Harry Glicken , USGS/CVO via Wikimedia Commons

The violent 79 AD eruption of the still-active stratovolcano Mount Vesuvius in Italy is regarded as the deadliest in European history. It may have killed more than 16,000 people in total.

Several settlements were destroyed by its pyroclastic flow, the most famous being the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Pyroclastic flow is a very hot mixture of ash, gases and other volcanic materials that moves at high speed along the flank of the volcano.  

This was a Plinian eruption, with jets of magma and gases emerging from the volcano at high speeds. These types of eruptions can last for several days and cause a plume of superheated ash and gas that can expand and reach a height of 55 kilometres.

Stromboli is another of Italy's active stratovolcanoes, but it behaves differently to Vesuvius. This island volcano has been exhibiting a pattern of eruption for 2,000 years. Mildly explosive blasts of magma - called fire fountains - consistently occur from a few minutes to a few hours apart. This type of eruption is known as strombolian and is exhibited by other volcanoes around the world, such as by Mount Erebus in Antarctica.

A painting of an erupting stratovolcano

A gouache painting by Mauton of Mount Vesuvius erupting in 1836. Image courtesy of  Wellcome Collection , Public Domain

Shield volcanoes

Shield volcanoes are generally not as tall as stratovolcanoes, although they can still reach great heights. Olympus Mons is a shield volcano on the planet Mars . It's the largest volcano in the solar system at around 25 kilometres tall and 624 metres in diameter.

A shield volcano's eruptions are usually gentle and non-explosive and are instead known for their lava flows and fountains. Shield volcanoes have runny lava (low viscosity) that travels further than the stickier lava of stratovolcanoes. This flowing lava results in the far-reaching, gently sloping sides of these volcanoes.

A view of the shield volcano Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is a dormant shield volcano in Hawaii. Its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii, at 4,207 metres above sea level © Nula666 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Shield volcanoes are typically located on hot spots found across tectonic plates rather than at the boundaries. The best known are the Hawaiian volcanoes such as Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Kīauea.

Other volcanoes around the world also exhibit gentle Hawaiian eruptions. This type of eruption can produce lava fountains that can be hundreds of metres tall and travel at speeds of up to 100 metres per second.

Cinder cones

Cinder cones are relatively small volcanoes made from loose volcanic material. Most are short-lived and can grow on the sides of larger volcanoes. They typically form through an explosive eruption or lava fountain from a single vent.

One of the best known is Parícutin, a volcano that suddenly formed in a cornfield in Michoacán, Mexico, beginning in 1943. Due to its continuous strombolian eruptions, the volcano grew until its eruptions ceased in 1952. It had reached 300 metres tall.

Parícutin was the first time that volcanologists were able to document the full life cycle of a volcano. 

A sepia photograph of the cinder cone Parícutin erupting

The cinder cone volcano, Parícutin, erupting in 1943 © Bodil Christensen via Wikimedia Commons


The largest and most explosive volcanoes on Earth are popularly called supervolcanoes , although this isn't a scientifically defined type of volcano. These enormous volcanoes produce giant calderas - volcanic craters formed by the collapse of the volcano itself when the magma chamber below was emptied by an eruption.

One of the most famous is Yellowstone in the United States, which has a caldera around 72 by 55 kilometres. The Yellowstone supervolcano last erupted around 630,000 years ago. 

A geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park

The Yellowstone supervolcano is well known for its geothermal activity in the form of hot springs, fumaroles and geysers 

There are around 20 known supervolcano sites around the world. The most recent supereruption was of Taupo volcano in New Zealand around 26,500 years ago.

The eruption of the Indonesian supervolcano Toba around 73,000 years ago is also thought to have triggered a drop of 2-3 degrees Celsius in air temperature globally, causing a five- to seven-year volcanic winter. This eruption may have had an profound impact on the course of the human species.

  • Your question

Ask a Museum scientist

Do you have a burning question about science or nature that you want the answer to? Fill out the form below to let us know.  We'll work with Museum scientists to turn some of your questions into stories featured in our  online magazine Discover  or videos on our  YouTube channel .

This new feature is in beta.  Find out more . 

Find out more

how to do a volcano project

Supervolcanoes and their enormous eruptions

Discover what a supervolcano is, what their eruptions are like and how they impact our planet. 

how to do a volcano project

The 1883 Krakatau eruption: a year of blue Moons

The mystery of blue Moons lies in the ashes of volcanic eruptions.

how to do a volcano project

Inside the mind of a volcano

As the new Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery prepares to blast open, Museum volcanologist talks about predicting disasters and exploring off limits on the slopes of volcanoes.

how to do a volcano project

Exploring Martian mysteries in lceland's volcanoes

Learn how Iceland's volcanic terrain is shaping the way scientists explore the surface of Mars.

Don't miss a thing

Receive email updates about our news, science, exhibitions, events, products, services and fundraising activities. We may occasionally include third-party content from our corporate partners and other museums. We will not share your personal details with these third parties. You must be over the age of 13. Privacy notice .

Follow us on social media

Science Bob

  • Experiments
  • Science Fair Ideas
  • Science Q&A
  • Research Help
  • Experiment Blog

more in Experiments

Make your own volcano.

how to do a volcano project

Check out the GIANT version!

You will need

  • A volcano – Talk to an art teacher about how to make a volcano out of paper mache or plaster. You can also use clay or if you’re in a hurry to make your volcano, use a mound of dirt outside.
  • A container that 35mm film comes in, and old pill bottle, a baby food jar, or similar size container.
  • Red and yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Liquid dish washing soap
  • Go outside or prepare for some clean-up inside
  • Put the container into the volcano at the top
  • Add two spoonfuls of baking soda
  • Add about a spoonful of dish soap
  • Add about 5 drops each of the red and yellow food coloring

Now for the eruption!: Add about an ounce of the vinegar into the container and watch what your volcano come alive.

A VOLCANO is produced over thousands of years as heat a pressure build up. That aspect of a volcano is very difficult to recreate in a home experiment. However this volcano will give you an idea of what it might look like when a volcano erupts flowing lava. This is a classic experiment in which a CHEMICAL reaction can create the appearance of a PHYSICAL volcano eruption. You should look at pictures of volcanoes to be familiar with the different types. (A SHIELD volcano, for example is the most common kind of volcano, and yet few people know about them) The reaction will bubble up and flow down the side like a real volcano (only much faster!) Look for videos of volcanoes erupting and be sure that you understand how heat and pressure work to really make volcanoes erupt.


The project above is a DEMONSTRATION. To make it a true experiment, you can try to answer these questions:

1. Does vinegar temperature affect how fast the volcano erupts? 2. Does the shape of the volcano affect the direction the eruption travels? 3. What can be added to the “lava” to slow it down and make it more like real lava? 4. What combination of vinegar and baking soda creates the biggest eruption?

More Images & Video

how to do a volcano project

More from my site

Science Bob on The Today Show

ADS (these ads support our free website)

Share this page.

' class=

1. Learn about volcanoes

2. prepare your crater, 3. make your volcano erupt, 4. form the lava flow, 6. make more eruptions, 7. trade your volcano, 8. take core samples, 9. record your findings, 10. compare your map.

Learning Space

Teachable Moments

Stay Connected

twitter icon

Make a Volcano

Make a volcano with baking soda, vinegar and play dough. Then, add multiple layers that you can investigate like a NASA scientist. Test your family and friends to see if they can guess what's inside your volcano!

Watch the Tutorial

See below for materials and step-by-step instructions. For more video tutorials and activities like this one, visit Learning Space .

Watch en Español : Seleccione subtítulos en Español bajo el ícono de configuración.

In this episode of Learning Space, you will make a volcano with baking soda, vinegar and play dough. Then, add multiple layers that you can investigate like a NASA scientist. | Watch on YouTube

Piece of cardboard OR a cookie sheet

3 or more colors of play dough ( download recipe ) or soft clay

Baking soda

Paper towels

Colored pencils OR crayons (ideally matching the colors of the play dough)

2 sheets of graph paper OR plain paper

1-3 clear plastic drinking straws

Satellite image of the Shiveluch volcano erupting.

Find out how volcanoes form and what causes them to erupt . Then click the planets in this interactive image to learn about volcanoes on planets throughout our solar system. Get inspired before you create your own volcano by checking out these images of volcanoes on Earth .

› Learn more about this image

Photo of a cup in the center of a piece of cardboard marked with cardinal directions

Cut off the top of the paper cup so it's only about 0.5 inches (1-2 cm) tall. Place the paper cup at the center of your piece of paper and trace around the bottom to make a circle. The circle and the cup represent the crater inside your volcano. Tape the cup to the piece of cardboard or a cookie sheet. Mark north, east, south and west on both the paper and the cardboard or cookie sheet.

Collage of images showing baking soda being poured into the cup, then vinegar, then a small foamy eruption

Fill the cup with a spoonful of baking soda. Then, slowly pour in enough vinegar to make the mixture foam up and flow out of the cup. This simulates an eruption and lava flowing out of your volcano.

Photo of a person drawing a line around the area where the baking soda and vinegar mixture flowed out of the volcano

If possible, use a colored pencil to trace around the edge of where the lava flew out of your volcano. Dab up the fluid with a paper towel. Then, cover the area inside the line you traced with a thin layer of one color of play dough to mark where the lava flowed.

Photo of someone drawing the shape of the lava flow on a piece of graph paper

On your graph paper, use a colored pencil that matches the color of the play dough you put down to draw the shape of your lava layer. This is the start of a map that will show where lava flowed during each eruption of the model volcano. Be sure the orientation of the cardinal directions on your map match the ones on your model volcano.

Repeat steps 3-5 three or four more times. Each time, put down a new layer of play dough and then map it out by drawing the shape of that layer on your graph paper. If you have more than one color of play dough, change colors between eruptions so it's easier to see the different layers.

If possible, trade your volcano with another person, so you can investigate one that is unknown! If you can't trade with anyone, find a family member who didn’t watch you build the volcano and challenge them to do the next steps.

Photo showing plastic straws being pushed into the play dough

Cut a plastic straw into thirds or fourths. Push an open end of the straw straight down through the play dough lava flows until you reach the bottom. Twist the straw in place and lift out a sample. This is what's called a core sample.

Looking through the clear straw, you can see the layers underneath the surface of the volcano. You can use this sample to investigate how the layers of the volcano formed over time. Repeat this step with each of your three or four straw pieces. Think about the best places to collect samples so that you can get as much information as possible.

On a blank piece of graph paper, draw a circle and cardinal directions like you did in Step 2. Use your core samples to make a prediction of where each layer of the volcano you’re studying begins and ends.

Then, use colored pencils that match the colors you find in the volcano to draw the layers on your graph paper. Try to get as close as you can with as few samples as possible!

Once you’ve created a map of your predictions, compare it with the known map from steps 2-6.

Exploding Volcano Activity: Get Your Little Scientist Thinking Big

During our Dinosaur unit, our preschoolers will learn about cause and effect by experimenting with baking soda-and-vinegar volcanoes.

In our centers, the classic “explode-y volcano” experiment (ahem, that’s the technical term) gets little minds thinking big: About the form and function of actual volcanoes (a hole in a mountain that burps lava, ash, and hot gas) as well as what our planet looked and felt like when dinosaurs roamed. We also explore scientific concepts like cause and effect: Mix vinegar with baking soda and you get a natural (and non-toxic) chemical reaction—plus bubbles galore! Turn your own kitchen into a lab with this easy volcano how-to:


  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Food coloring (orange or red—and optional)
  • Baking sheet
  • A cup or measuring cup with a spout
  • Spoon or dropper
  • Aprons or shirts that can get dirty, and dish towels for clean-up

There She Blows!  

  • Put a pile of baking soda on the baking sheet.
  • Put a small amount of vinegar in the cup and add a drop or two of food coloring.
  • Have your child use the spoon or eye dropper to drop (or just pour) a little vinegar solution onto a pile of baking soda and watch your volcano erupt!

Let Your Imagination Roar

Build a mountain: For longer-lasting fun, build a volcano base using a bottle and a simple playdough recipe —you can even paint the slopes once it’s dry. Our volcano hack-of-the-day: Try an upside-down funnel over a pile of baking soda. Boom. Volcano.

Suds up your lava flow: The chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar produces carbon dioxide gas, which, by the way, is also a byproduct of real volcanoes. Adding a squirt of dishwashing liquid to your concoction traps the gas and changes your “lava” flow. Check out these detailed instructions .

Make a dino diorama: Dot your baking sheet with plastic dinosaurs and get them in on the fun!

You might also like

smiling teacher and interested baby

Expert Infant Teachers Share What to Look for in a Daycare

Photo by: Tassil / iStock / 533247187

Baby in the House! 5 Easy Ways to Set Up Baby's Environment for Ultimate Learning Power

Photo by Lauren Naefe / Stocksy United / 764126

The Mind-Body Connection! 6 Activities to Help Kids Build Spatial Awareness

Photo by Nadezhda1906 / iStock / 669922196

10 Counting Activities for Preschoolers to Practice Their 1-2-3's

Find a KinderCare Center

Find a Center Nearby

KinderCare aims to protect your privacy online the way we protect your family in person, with care and caution. To improve the website experience, this site uses cookies as described in our  Cookie Notice . Click allow to consent to the use of this technology on our site. To learn more, please visit our  Legal Notices Page .


  1. Make An Erupting Volcano Project

    how to do a volcano project

  2. 🌋 Look Inside a Volcano Science Project for Kids

    how to do a volcano project

  3. Make your own erupting volcano experiment

    how to do a volcano project

  4. Pin by Ashley on DIY and crafts

    how to do a volcano project

  5. Volcanoes

    how to do a volcano project

  6. Make A Volcano Project

    how to do a volcano project


  1. DIY Volcano Eruption 🌋School Project Part 2 #shorts #asmulticreativity

  2. How To volcano Project

  3. volcano project SD 480p

  4. How to make volcano project #ytshorts #youtubeshorts 🤗🤗🌋

  5. how to make volcano project 😀

  6. Project volcano eruption #youtubeshorts#youtube#short#anumvlogs


  1. 15 Amazing Facts About Volcanoes

    Volcanoes and earthquakes have filled human beings with fear and fascination since the beginning of time. Read on for many interesting facts about volcanoes, plus some related information about earthquakes.

  2. What Is an Inactive Volcano?

    An inactive volcano is one that could erupt but has not erupted for more than 10,000 years. Inactive volcanoes are also called dormant or sleeping volcanoes. Inactive volcanoes are expected to erupt again at some point, despite being dorman...

  3. When Did the First Volcano Erupt?

    The first volcano erupted approximately 4.5 billion years ago. This is when the earth first came into existence, and long before the first humans walked the earth, according to Scholastic, Inc.

  4. How To Make A Volcano For Kids

    Things You Need For The Volcano Science Project · 100 ml of warm water · 10 ml of dish soap · 400 ml of white vinegar · Empty 2-litre soda bottle · 2 drops of red

  5. Making A Volcano

    Volcano Science Experiment! This is a safe and fun science experiment you can do at home! Learn how to make your own volcano, and find other fun experiments

  6. How to Make a Volcano (with Pictures)

    Making the Eruption · 1. Put 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the volcano. · 2. Squirt about 1 teaspoon of dish soap onto the baking soda. · 3. Add a few drops of

  7. How to make a Volcano DIY Science Experiment!!!

    How to make a Volcano DIY Science Experiment!!! Learn how to make an erupting volcano and do fun baking soda and vinegar science experiment

  8. How to make working Model of volcano/Volcano Eruption ...

    Hello everyone, Welcome to our channel !! We're here to make learning through school projects easy and fun. We usually do science

  9. How To Make Volcano Model For School Project

    How To Make Volcano Model For School Project | Inside Of Volcano | Simple And Easy Projects | #howtomakevolcano#howto#volcanomodelmaking

  10. How to make a volcano eruption model

    Hi Friends, In this video I will be showing you how to make "a volcano with eruption" model out of paper for science experiments and

  11. How to make a volcano

    For the eruption: · Small bowl · Cup · 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) · 1 tbsp washing up liquid · 2 tbsp water · ½ cup vinegar · 1 tbsp red food colouring.

  12. Make your Own Volcano

    What to do · Go outside or prepare for some clean-up inside · Put the container into the volcano at the top · Add two spoonfuls of baking soda · Add about a

  13. Student Project: Make a Volcano

    Make a volcano with baking soda, vinegar and play dough. Then, add multiple layers that you can investigate like a NASA scientist. Test your family and

  14. Exploding Volcano Activity: Get Your Little Scientist Thinking Big

    There She Blows! · Put a pile of baking soda on the baking sheet. · Put a small amount of vinegar in the cup and add a drop or two of food coloring. · Have your