So you want to learn how to make a baking soda volcano but you want a new twist. Why not try this snow volcano experiment?
We love creative STEM activities, which is why we have tons of winter STEM activities and winter science experiments here at STEAMsational.
This time, we’re taking science outside into the cold weather with this fun hands-on snow volcano experiment.
This experiment can be done with real snow, artificial snow, or homemade snow.
How to Do the Snow Volcano Experiment
So you want to make a snow volcano. Who can blame you; they look super cool!
Follow these directions to make sure you have everything you need and can do the snow volcano experiment without a hitch.
Snow Volcano Experiment Science Explanation
Before we get into step-by-step directions, what is the science of a snow volcano eruption?
The snow volcano we made uses a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to create a reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas.
The gas is lighter than air so it bubbles up and escapes from the top of the jar or cup. The addition of dish soap exaguates the reaction, and the snow freezes the foam and turns the snow pretty colors!
The reason baking soda and vinegar react is because vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base. When they mix, they try to normalize each other, which creates a chemical reaction and byproducts.
What do you need to make a snow volcano?
The most important ingredient for the snow volcano experiment is snow. If you live in a snowy area, this is easy to find.
But if you don’t, you can still do this experiment by using an ice shaver to make your own snow.
You’ll also need:
The Mason Jar Scientist: 30 Jarring STEAM-Based ProjectsBall Regular Mouth Mason Jars with Lids and Bands, 16-Ounces (4-Pack)Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil, 32 OunceBarbasol Soothing Aloe Thick & Rich Shaving Cream 10 Oz (2 Pack)Alka-Seltzer PFY BXAS50 80659297 Antacid and Pain Relief Medicine, Two-Pack (Pack of 50)Kadaon 10X Handheld Magnifier Antique Mahogany Handle Magnifier Reading Magnifying Glass for Reading Book, Inspection, Coins, Insects, Rocks, Map, Crossword PuzzleBORAX 20 Mule Team Laundry Booster, Powder, 4 PoundsFine Ground Celtic Sea Salt – (1) 16 Ounce Resealable Bag of Nutritious, Classic Sea Salt, Great for Cooking, Baking, Pickling, Finishing and More, Pantry-Friendly, Gluten-FreeMcCormick Assorted Food Color, 1 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)Food Coloring – 12 Color Vibrant Cake Food Coloring Set for Baking, Decorating, Fondant and Cooking – Upgraded Liquid Concentrated Icing Food Color Dye for Slime Making, DIY Crafts – .25 fl. oz. Each30% Pure Vinegar – Home&Garden (1 Gallon)Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 5 lbArgo Corn Starch 16 oz. Box (Pack of 4)
Science Volcano Experiment Variations
If you want to try the classic science volcano experiment, you’ll need clay to make the outside of the volcano. But, you can also make an erupting volcano even if you’re missing some of the ingredients!
How to make a volcano without clay
There are many ways to make a volcano without clay, but in this version, we are using snow to create the exterior of the mountain.
How to make a volcano erupt without baking soda
If you don’t have any baking soda, you can follow the recipe for elephant toothpaste here. This will create a similar reaction and look just as impressive!
How to make a volcano erupt without vinegar
If you don’t have vinegar, you can make a volcano erupt without vinegar by adding any other acid that you may have. Lemon juice, vitamin C powder, and even lemonade powder work well!
How to build an erupting volcano
So you want to build an erupting volcano to make a snow volcano experiment. Here’s what to do.
First, mix up your colors that you want to use with the vinegar inside. I chose primary colors: red, blue, and yellow.
Add a few drops of coloring to 1 cup of vinegar per color.
Add a few drops of dish soap to each color.
Take your supplies outside.
Create a mound of snow and dig out the top center and put the jar inside.
Put your first color of vinegar inside the crater.
How to make snow for a snow volcano
If you aren’t in a snowy location, or if it’s the wrong season, you can still make a snow volcano.
Use the ice shaver to create snow and use that to create your snow mound. Place the snow on a large tray or in the bathtub to keep the mess down inside.
How to make a snow volcano erupt
Spoon some baking soda inside your snow volcano.
Watch as it slowly erupts from the container and spills over the top, dyeing the snow!
We found that the cold weather slowed the path of the volcano as it started to freeze right as it emerged from the volcano.
Add another color of vinegar and more baking soda.
Observe if the colors mix. It was too cold where we were, so our colors never really mixed!
Repeat with as many colors as you want, or until you run out of supplies.
Snow Volcano Cleanup
It is a bit jarring to see dyed snow foam all over the yard, so here’s a few tips on cleaning it up.
Use a snow shovel to scoop up the snow and put it on a large tray.
Dispose of the mixture down the drain inside.