“Mommy can I blow something up?”
This was the question my semi-bored and extremely curious 8-year-old asked me a couple of weeks ago.
As you all know, due to the insidiousness that is COVID-19, literally the entire country (if not world) is on a very real and very necessary lockdown. If you’re anything like me, you are eagerly anticipating for “them” to open up outside. My hope and prayer is that in the meantime, you are all happy and safe and have all you need. Until then, we must find ways to pass the time and keep the little people in our charge happy so no coup d’etats take place. I’m sure that won’t happy, but in the unlikely event the thought crosses your kiddos’ minds, here’s a no stress 5-day Volcano Unit even you will enjoy! 😉
Before you begin this unit, open up a free account with the magicalness (is that even a world??) that is HooplaDigital! I sang HooplaDigital’s praises in the blog I did to cover resources for traditionally schooled children. Feel free to check that out and then meet me back here!
Gather: A large-ish empty box, empty water bottle, newspapers, glue, plastic bowl, masking tape, acrylic paints & paint brushes, scissors, food coloring, baking soda, and vinegar. Optional: Hot glue gun and glue sticks and water proof varnish. (Hint: You won’t need all of this on Day 1, its just helpful to locate these items now).
Read: Chapter 1 of Volcanoes by Lauren Cross, which is part of the Earth in Action series. This eBook can be conveniently borrowed on your free Hoopladigital account.
Chat About It: As you read, take time to chat about what you’re reading. Look at the pictures. Ask you kids what they would’ve been thinking if they were there to experience the early signs of Mount Saint Helen’s waking up.
Watch: Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano | Lava Land | TRACKS (watch until minute 10)
My 8-year-old couldn’t get enough of this documentary about Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano. She was begging me to go past today’s 10 minute mark that I previously allotted! But if you’re short on time, feel free to stop at 10-minutes. Don’t worry about finishing it all today…you’ve got the entire week.
Do: Your kiddos can begin making their volcano! Allow bigger kids to cut off the box’s top. Help your younger kids out if necessary. Place an empty water bottle in the center of the box (feel free to hot glue it if that will hold it steady). Crumple newspapers and position them all around. Secure the newspapers with masking tape as you form your volcano’s cone. Be sure to have plenty set aside for the paper mâché step tomorrow. *Hint: It should look like this:
This Youtube tutorial up until 0:16 will give you Day 1’s steps.
(Images: Red Ted Art)
Read: Chapter 2 of Volcanoes by Lauren Cross.
Chat About It: Ask your child, “What was the most shocking piece of information you learned in today’s reading? Was there something you already knew?”
Watch: Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano | Lava Land | TRACKS (minute marks 10-20)
Do: Mix glue and water in a mixing bowl. Begin tearing strips of newspaper. Dip them in the glue mixture. Squeeze excess glue in to the bowl. Your strips shouldn’t be dripping. Begin to place the strips on the cone you formed yesterday. Cover the entire volcano. Allow this to dry overnight.
Start this Youtube tutorial at 0:17 and watch until 0:32 to give you Day 2’s steps.
Here’s what my smart girl did on her own!
Read: Chapter 3 of Volcanoes by Lauren Cross.
Chat About It: Go on this modern-day virtual walking tour of Pompeii. If you had a bird’s eye view of the “doomed” ancient city of Pompeii, about what you would have smelled, heard, felt and seen as Mt. Vesuvious erupted.
Watch: Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano | Lava Land | TRACKS (minute marks 20-30)
Do: Begin painting your volcano. Mix various browns, blacks and reds to achieve the desired appearance. Apply a waterproof vanish if so desired. (We actually didn’t do the varnish because who has water proof varnish in the middle of a pandemic, right?!) Allow this to dry overnight.
Start this Youtube tutorial at 0:33 and watch until 0:55 to give you Day 3’s steps.
Bonus Activity: After your reading, if your child just can’t get enough, download and complete this free All About Volcanoes worksheet from Education.com!
Read: Chapter 4 of Volcanoes by Lauren Cross.
Chat About It: Ask your child, “How might looking at tree rings and snow layers help Volcanologists learn about past eruptions?” (Check page 34 for clues)
Watch: Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano | Lava Land | TRACKS (minute marks 30-40)
Do: Add any final touches to your volcano. Finish painting it and/or allowing it to dry today…tomorrow, you’ll get to “blow it up”! We actually had a whole plan to put grass and a bit of dirt in the box at the base of our volcano. But I’m gonna be honest with ya, this momma forgot! Feel free to let your kiddos do that if they want! Have at it, let you smart kiddie make this their own!
Read: Chapter 5 of Volcanoes by Lauren Cross.
Chat About It: Ask your child, “Why do people still choose to live near volcanos? Would you?”
Watch: Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano | Lava Land | TRACKS (minute marks 40-end)
Do: Blow it up!
Now comes the fun part! You’ve put in the work and now its time to blow up your volcano! Well, not literally.
Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with several drops of red food coloring in measuring cup. I had a packet of red Jello on hand in case our gel food coloring didn’t work. But we had no problems! Pour this mixture down the volcano’s “mouth” (ie. water bottle opening). Scoop several teaspoons of baking soda into the bottle. Use your judgement for how much or how little depending on the desired affect.
Have your video ready to go on your smartphone and watch the magic unfold!
You just finished a 5-day, no stress volcano unit that (*fingers crossed*) even you enjoyed and no animals or people, including Beast Boy, Elsa and Minnie Mouse were harmed in the making of it! 😉
Thanks for reading.
P.S. In case you want to see how our volcano turned out, here ya go!