As you all know my son isn’t the biggest fan of school. He’d much rather be doing anything other than reading, writing or working on his maths. I’ll do anything (pretty much) to help show him that actually school can be fun, and learning is interesting. When he was learning about the Tudors last year I tied in visits to the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace to bring the subject alive for him. On the last day of term before the Christmas holidays my son brought home some homework. He needed to do some research on a volcano ahead of the new term’s topic. Having fun with volcanoes, excellent. We could definitely get him inspired.
Everyone always comments on his volcano top I bought from Lands End UK a few years ago, buy big and it lasts longer! He’s had the top a while now and it still washes well and looks fab on him. Not only is it in his favourite colour, red, but the graphics are perfect for having fun with volcanoes.
My son might be a very reluctant reader but he does love factual books with lots of imagery. So as soon as I knew he’d be learning about volcanoes at school we went through his book-case and found a few gems.
But having fun with volcanoes is not just about reading, or googling information on the internet. Last year I’d been sent a Kidzlabs volcano making set as part of a gift company review.
As we didn’t need to actually review the items I’d selected, only the service, I’d put this set aside for later in the year. It was already all wrapped up for Christmas when the new topic homework arrived. Excellent, Mummy brownie points would be on offer when he unwrapped this little beauty.
The set comes with a mould, eruption chamber, paints and brush, and two bags of plaster. It was really easy to put together, with the clear instructions provided. We did leave the plaster to set for double the time the instructions mentioned though as it still felt soft to the touch after the initial 20 minutes.
Next came the painting. My son opted for reds, oranges and yellow for his volcano. I’ve remarked on his concentration in my Living Arrows post earlier in the week. It was lovely to watch him taking such care with his masterpiece.
Now we’ve tried erupting a volcano as part of a science set before, and the results hadn’t been quite as impressive as we’d hoped. So I was trying to contain expectations this time around. We learned very quickly that the measurements suggested in the instructions for our new volcano were very conservative and in the end we used a lot of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. But our volcano did erupt and my son loved every second of it.
We did video having fun with volcanoes but my son doesn’t want me to show it on the blog. But he did let me show it to his teacher, and he let his class watch it. In fact he was so proud of his volcano he even took it into school
The children in his year have been working in teams to make volcanoes using 2 litre plastic bottles, cardboard and papier-mache. When I was in school earlier in the week it was time for their own volcano eruptions. They could choose to use the bicarbonate of soda/vinegar method we’d tried at home or coke/mintoes method. The kids had lots of fun trying to get their volcanoes to erupt but it soon became clear that you needed an awful lot more erupting mixture for the size of their volcanoes, for the experiments to work. All good learning though. My son actually said he’d bring his volcano back into school so they could try again in class with a smaller volcano.
There are lots of science kits on the market offering volcano experiments and you can also just make one from scratch yourself, like they have in school and like the volcano Emma made with her son. Jenny’s boys had great fun with the volcano set they were trying out, with added food colouring which works well. While Anna’s son used play dough round a glass jar to make his volcano, and Tami’s son added mud for a bit of substance to his lava . Should we get any more snow this winter I’m definitely going to get my son out in the garden to try making snow volcanoes.
We’ve been having fun with volcanoes but we still needed to get our topic homework done. We’d googled volcanoes and my son had decided he’d write about Mount Etna. I think this was based solely on the rather impressive eruption photo we’d found on the internet. He was all set to pull his work together when I just mentioned what we were doing to my youngest niece, who’s currently living in New Zealand. She started laughing and told me that they have 48 volcanoes in Auckland alone. She sent me a photo of one she’d visited, I want to do that one was my son’s response as soon as I showed him. So back to google he went, found his facts and even he could be convinced to put pen to paper for a change.
I’ve loved pulling together resources to inspire my son this month. I need to get my old photos down from the loft as I know I’ve seen a few volcanoes from afar over the years in far-flung corners of the earth. In class they’ve been writing about volcanoes too. When I was in for their English showcase last week, the children were putting together their ideas for some volcano poems, hopefully we’ll see the results later in the term.
What volcano related fun have you had?
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