Monday, June 23, 2014

Danger: Hot Lava Ahead!

Building the volcano
For the past week or so, Ben has been obsessed with hot lava.  He races his cars to and from erupting volcanoes.  He runs around the house and climbs on the furniture to avoid hot lava.  He chases his sisters around the house pretending to be hot lava.  Whatever the source of his sudden interest, I decided it was a good jumping off place for learning about something new.

Playmat made by my mom intended for use with dinosaurs.
Currently used to drive Hot Wheels to and from the erupting volcano
We started with some videos on to learn about volcanoes as geological features in general (neat since Ben recently did a little school project about land masses).  Also watching erupting volcanoes is just pretty cool.  This had the side benefit of featuring erupting volcanoes from Hawaii, which gave us a chance to talk about the fact that my mom and I are from Hawaii and to show him where Hawaii is located on his world map.

Painting the volcano
I then thought we should try making the old tried-and-true paper mache volcano.  We took some time over the weekend to cut the newspaper, mix the paper mache paste, and build our volcano (which ended up looking more like an igloo, but no worries).  Ben found the paper mache a bit messy, but seemed to have fun seeing it all come together.  We then left it to dry overnight.  The next morning we painted the volcano and left it to dry (this project was a good lesson in delayed gratification!).  That afternoon, we mixed together warm water, red food coloring, and dishwashing detergent.  We added the baking soda and vinegar and watched our volcano erupt!  Despite the fact that everyone seems to have done this experiment at some point during their childhood, it was actually the first time I'd ever done it, and I think I had just as much fun and surprise as Ben with it all.  We left the volcano out to dry, so hopefully we can re-visit it periodically for more eruptions while the hot lava obsessions lasts.

Erupting volcano!!
Tomorrow, we head to the library to check out some books on volcanoes, including the following:
Hot lava has been a fun exploration.  It gave us a little science, a little art, new reading material, new youtube videos (frankly, I was growing tired of those garbage trucks!), and some really fun physical activity chasing each other all around the house (though Alice gets a little overly scared of the hot lava at times).  I'm not usually very good with the science activities so it felt good to branch out.  I look forward to Ben's next new random interest!

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