Kids experimenting with Salt Dough Volcano in Summer Camp

Salt Dough Volcano

Age Group: for ages 3 and up

This experiment is a classic, as well as a crowd pleaser. It is a great family activity, because even young kids can help shape the salt dough onto the exterior of our volcano. Using materials like Salt Dough is a great way to strengthen those fine motor skills so kids can do important activities-like tie their shoes and write. 

After we get the Salt Dough onto our pretend volcano, it is for the eruption!  It is a great way to talk about chemical reactions and also talk about how volcanoes work! When we mix baking soda and vinegar, the chemicals react and it turns into a foam-which as it expands will rise through the water bottle and come out of the top of the volcano! 



To make the salt dough* (this will make enough dough for two volcanoes)-

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup warm water

To complete the activity

  • One small, empty plastic water bottle
  • Paint
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Food Coloring
  • A shallow container to hold everything

*The salt dough exterior is optional, if you choose you can skip steps 1-5 and simply paint directly on the water bottle



  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl
  2. Add the water and stir until the mixture forms a dough (additional water might be needed).
  3.  Roll out the dough to about a ½ inch thickness.
  4. Place water bottle in the center of your shallow container and mold the salt dough around it
  5. Leave the bottle in a safe place and let dry for 24 hours.
  6. Paint the water bottle to look like a volcano and let dry.
  7.  Fill the bottle with about 2 tablespoons of baking powder, a squirt of dish soap, and a couple drops of red food coloring.
  8.  Ensure the bottle is in a shallow container and then pour in about a cup and a half of vinegar and watch as your volcano erupts!

More fun

Real volcanoes have some things in common with our salt dough version. As rocks get closer to the earth’s core, they heat up and melt. The melted rock weighs less, and slowly rises closer to the Earth’s surface. If other conditions are right, some of this magma can rise up and explode through the earth’s surface! Learn more here?