"A Great Day for Volcanoes!"

Kitchen and science "experiments" around here often lead us back to our favorite two ingredients to just play with: baking soda and vinegar! It seems these are the kinds of things that often show up in science fairs and a few classrooms. Around here, they might as well be considered everyday objects.

The ways in which Zeal likes to play with these two wonderful ingredients are more varied than I can probably recall and write down here, but here's the short list of some favorites:

-use an eye dropper to dribble vinegar on a pile or line of baking soda
-tape two plastic cups together, create a hole in the top and get baking soda and vinegar to react and ooze out the top
-add baking soda and vinegar to a bottle, cork it, and count to see how long it takes for the cork to pop! Repeat, and repeat again, trying each time to get the cork to shoot higher!

Zeal worked on this latest and more resembling of a volcano than any of his other baking soda-vinegar forays for a week: first building it from a container, tape and newspaper, then papier-macheing it thoroughly (a few days' project), then painting it,

and finally letting it blow! (or ooze, if you prefer)

Today, he pulled it out again and said, "Today is a great day for Volcanoes! Let's go to the park!" So we grabbed the necessary supplies and walked the few steps from our front door to our neighborhood park where he made it a community event.

Here's our favorite easy recipe for papier-måché:

Mix 1 part glue and 1 part water. Dip dryer lint, newspaper, or colored tissue paper strips into the glue mixture and gently lay them onto the object of your choice. Let your sculpture dry in a warm area for 2-3 days.

and our favorite combination of lava: baking soda, vinegar, red food coloring, and a touch of dishwashing soap (we keep Dawn around just for projects like this - it also makes the best bubbles!)

By the time they got past the initial eruptions, the kids got really into the "hands-on" experience and, eruption after eruption, the lava got redder and sudsier than ever. They had a wonder-full time!