One of my college students first introduced this project to me and I about fell out of my chair. Lemon volcanoes are sizzling with Science fun for all ages!
The day I learned about lemon volcanoes was when my life truly began
A tad dramatic, yes, but once you try these, too, your life will also truly begin. 😂
They have ALL the wow factor, ALL the sensory goodness, ALL the easy-to-follow-and-can’t-mess-them-up steps, and ALL the squishy, colorful, bubbly magic you’d want from a science project.
And the very best part: they’re so, so easy. Lemon volcanoes don’t need expensive, specialty materials. I’ve now made three bazillion lemon volcanoes and I am just as flabbergasted at how fun these are as I was the day I first saw them.
Related: Looking for more Science activities for kids? Our Virtual Preschool has fantastic Science demonstrations and more!
Tip: Befriend someone with a lemon tree so that you can make lemon volcanoes 24/7
I joke that when we interview prospective families for our preschool, I tell Miss Michelle to ask them if they have a lemon tree. If they do, they’re in!
While I’m teasing, because we love to do so, so many lemon projects, our preschool families and my college students still regularly bring us buckets and bags of lemons.
We never run out of ideas for them. Our preschoolers could do lemon volcanoes for days and days in a row alone.
Looking for more fun lemon activities? Let me “lemon-aid” you:
- Lemon Aromatherapy Silly Putty – Paging Fun Moms
- Lemon Puffy Paint – Imagination Tree
- Edible Paint for Kids – Realistic Mama
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- Baking soda – we fly through so much baking soda that we always buy in bulk
- Dish soap
- Coloring – liquid watercolors or food dye (note: both will stain hands temporarily, but food dye stains for much longer than liquid watercolors)
- Popsicle Sticks
- Prep your materials – cut lemons in half and have your dish soap, baking soda, coloring, and popsicle sticks accessible to your child.
- Next, invite your child to hold a lemon half in their hand and to add dish soap, baking soda, and coloring to the freshly cut part of the lemon. There is no correct order to add them. Baking soda followed by soap followed by color? Great! Color followed by baking soda followed by soap? Superb!
- Now the best part – use the popsicle stick to squish and poke the lemon and watch the fizzy, colorful, science magic!
The fact that kids can add the ingredients in any order and in any amount is part of what makes this project so unique. There are so many opportunities to experiment!
What makes a lemon volcano erupt?
You know how baking soda and vinegar bubble and foam when mixed together? In this experiment, the lemon juice creates the same effect as the vinegar.
Why? Because of a chemical reaction!
The lemon juice is an acid, and the baking soda is a base. When an acid and a base mix, they create a gas called carbon dioxide.
When doing this experiment (and other science experiments!) with kids, introduce these words while you work. Hearing young scientists say, “I am mixing an acid and a base together” is the good stuff, friends.
Do I have to hold the lemon volcanoes in my hand?
Nope! We invite our kids to hold the lemons in their hands or to do the experiment while the lemon sits on the table.
While they always have the options, without prompting, hand-holding the lemons always becomes the clear preference, though. But, like always, do what’s best for you!
This will also work with other citrus, such as limes and oranges.
YES! Kids can use all senses in this project (hearing, touching, seeing, smelling, and maybe even tasting!)
It’s from Target’s back-to-school section that they have in the Fall.
Lemon volcanoes live up to the hype
These are in regular rotation around these parts, and once you try them, you’ll understand why.
And as you continue in your travels, remember to befriend people with lemon trees. 😉