STEAM activities have become a big topic in Early Learning and for great reason! They encourage an active investigation into the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics on the part of the children, and remind us, as adults, that learning doesn’t need to be complicated to be valuable.
Read on for Awesome Lemon Volcano Experiment for Kids
Yesterday, F and I were playing around in the kitchen when she spotted a bag of lemons in the fridge and asked to play with them. I gave her two, a bowl and a variety of spoons to do with what she liked. While I cooked on the cupboards above she explored the fruit on the floor below me (safely distanced from anything dangerous I was doing of course) and described to me what she was seeing and experiencing. It was so fun to hear what language she came up with to talk through her playful learning. All I had done was hand her a few kitchen odds and ends and a beautiful fruit and she took charge in her learning.
We decided to take this a step further and create an explosion of fun! I am an avid follower of an amazing STEAM Blog called Babble Dabble Do, where Ana Dziengel (author of the two books noted in this post) explores fun activities for both littles ones as well as the big kid in all of us! We put a last minute spin on what I had remembered reading from her article found here.
What we used:
(and the kitchen utensils F already had on hand from her earlier play)
What we did:
- I borrowed F’s 2 lemons and cut out the core through to about midway of the lemon. I kept this portion of the lemon for squeezing into the volcanic fun during the action!
- I set the lemons inside the bowl, and showed Lady F how to squish the inside of the lemon to make a big mushy mess, while keeping the juice inside the lemon.
- Now the extra fun part! Experimenting the way only a 2 year old can, we added the baking soda to the lemons (which started to fizz right away!), mashed it into the lemons, added baking soda to the water which we then poured into the lemons, added the saved lemon juice from the removed core and so on. This was a fun way to talk about what we thought would happen with each change we made. Using the spoons and other tools, we increased the bubbling action.
The entertainment continued with every squeeze of the lemon, stir of the bubbled over mess, and story we added to what we were doing. This easily moved into dramatic play as F was inspired with creativity in her kitchen masterpiece.
For next time
In her article, Ana also adds a bit of dish soap ahead of the baking soda to enhance and increase the froth. We found it fun with what we had but will try this next time to see how it differs! She also mentions adding food colouring to the lemons to watch the bubbles become colourful and this will be a great addition to a second attempt at this another time.
The Science for Big Kids:
Citric acid, which we know as a preservative in many of the foods we eat, is found in the lemon juice. When we add the baking soda to the lemon juice, sodium citrate and carbon dioxide are formed, which is what puts on the great show!
Let us know what quick and easy experiments you love doing with your kids when the moment strikes you!
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