Summertime calls for simple, unstructured activities that provide kids with valuable learning experiences through exploration. There is something about the lazy days of summer that turn even most basic activity into an unforgettable opportunity for discovery and learning. Simple and frugal summer fun can be created using basic items found around the house and a little bit of quality time with mom or dad. These easy sandbox volcanoes will delight children of all ages and provide hours of fun (and peace for mom).
What You Need
Sandbox (or a plastic tub filled with sand)
Vinegar (distilled white vinegar is affordable and works wonderfully)
Plastic sand shovel (optional)
Sandbox Volcanoes Instructions
Sandboxes are the stuff great summer memories are made of. If you do not have a sand box, you can purchase a cheap plastic storage container and fill it with sand for a very cheap summer activity that will keep your kids busy for hours during summer vacation. Sandboxes are very affordable to build yourself if you are feeling handy. A good basic sandbox can be built using a piece of sturdy weed cloth, several pieces of wood (preferably manufactured wood or wood not treated with chemicals), and a piece of lattice to cover the sandbox and keep neighborhood cats away.
Show your child how to build a simple volcano out of sand. You can use a shovel if you want but bare hands work just fine. Show your child how to create a small indentation at the top of the volcano. Use the opportunity to talk with your child about volcanoes while you build. Preschoolers will enjoy talking about the basic structure and function of a volcano while school-aged children may be inspired to take a trip to the local library to learn more about volcanoes.
Use small plastic containers for your baking soda and vinegar. I like using cheap plastic measuring cups with a spout because they are easy for small hands and they pour nicely. Let your child pour the baking soda into the indentation at the top of the volcano. Ask him what he thinks will happen when you add the vinegar.
Have your child slowly pour the vinegar into the indentation with the baking soda and watch as the volcano explodes!
Note: Don’t be concerned about contaminating your sand with the baking soda and vinegar. If your sandbox is outside, any residue will eventually be washed away by the rain or the sprinklers in your yard. The baking soda will be left behind but it works into the sand quickly and you won’t even notice it. Both baking soda and vinegar are natural cleansers so you will actually be cleaning your sandbox while you play with your child, which is definitely a good thing, especially if several kids routinely play in your sand.