Many kids are fascinated by all aspects of nature and may be especially eager to learn about volcanoes.  Help your scientific kids learn about volcanoes with this fiery Theme Day Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



While many kids are enthralled by volcanoes and how destructive nature can be, some children become very anxious even thinking of natural disasters.  If your child worries about such things this may NOT be the Theme Day for your family.  However, you could use this as an opportunity to talk about your child’s fears and perhaps ease them with some knowledge.



              For a volcanic song listen to “Volcano” by Jimmy Buffet.




You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Volcano Coloring Page” or print out my Erupting Volcano Coloring Page.



Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook:  What is a volcano?  What do you know about volcanoes?  Would you ever want to visit a volcano? If you could meet a Volcanologist what would you ask him/her?

 Choose the level of your child:

¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or poem about  volcanoes.


Print out a Volcano Word Search: 

Easy Volcano Word Search or Difficult Volcano Word Search.

Check here for the answer keys:

Easy Volcano Word Search KEY or Difficult Volcano Word Search KEY.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about volcanoes.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about volcanoes.


Go to the library on your own to find books about volcanoes  from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (Search for “Volcanoes” under “Children’s Books”).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles about volcanoes:


· Inside Volcanoes, by Melissa Stewart and illustrations throughout by Cynthia Shaw, Sterling Children’s Books, 2011 – This book has many fold out pages and lots of photographs as well as illustrations for a thorough look at volcanoes.


· Into the Volcano, by Donna O’Meara with photographs by Stephen and Donna O’Meara, Kids Can Press, 2005 - This is written by a volcanologist and would be especially interesting to older kids wanting to learn more about scientists who research volcanoes.


· Investigating Volcanic Eruptions, by Ellen René, The Rosen Publishing Group Inc., 2009 – Part of PowerKids Press Science Detectives series, this book has large text making it good for early readers while still offering a lot of details.


· Look Inside Volcano, by Fleur Star, DK Publishing, 2011 – This is a lift the flap book that is designed for older kids as it has a lot of great information about volcanoes. 


· Visiting Volcanoes with a Scientist, by Catherine McGlone, Enslow Publishers, Inc., This one has photographs with basic text making it good for younger children and beginner readers.

· Volcanoes: Nature’s Incredible Fireworks, by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Cheryl Nathan, Boyds Mill Press, 2002 – This looks like a picture book but is a great learning book that explains the basics of volcanoes very nicely.


· Volcanoes on Earth, by Bobbie Kalman, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2008 – AN easy to read book with lots of facts about volcanoes.


· What is the Theory of Plate Tectonics?, by Craig Saunders, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2001 – This book offers more information on plate tectonics for older kids who want to dive a bit deeper into volcanoes and earth science.



Here are some picture books about volcanoes:


· Dear Katie, The Volcano IS a Girl, by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Daniel Powers, Hyperion Books for Children, 1998 – A Granddaughter says a volcano is the Hawaiian goddess and the Gradnmother says it is a geophysical phenomenon…this book shows how they both are right.


· Volcano Wakes Up!, by Lisa Westberg Peters and illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Henry Holt and Company, 2010 – This book offers playful poems from five different points of view which tell the story of a small volcano getting ready for a big explosion.


· When the Giant Stirred: Legend of a Volcanic Island, by Celia Godkin, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2002 – This picture book tells the story of a small pacific volcanic island and the islanders (both people and animals) that live on it.







Materials: Brown paper, orange or red paper, markers, child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Show your child some pictures of volcanoes from library books or online and then have your child cut out a mountain shape to glue to a piece of paper.

Step 2: Have your child cut out strips of red or orang paper to be blasts of lava to glue onto the mountain shape.

Step 3: Optional—Have your child add embellishments using crayons or markers.  My Youngest son coloured more lava and then added smoke to his picture.

Step 4: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.




NOTE: this is much the same as the above craft but with the added element of introducing the letter “V” to preschoolers.  My Youngest was pleased to make this to help “little kids learn.”


Materials: Brown paper, orange or red paper, child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers, (OPTIONAL) finger paints (if using paints then I recommend covering the work table with newspaper or plastic, and that yoru child wear an art smock or old clothes) OR crayons or markers.


NOTE: If you want to make your own finger paint as we did try this recipe: http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/06/easy-homemade-finger-paints.html


Step 1: Cut out a basic mountain shape for you child or draw a basic mountain shape and have your child cut it out for some scissor practice.

Step 2: Have your pre-schooler glue this mountain shape o a piece of paper.

Step 3: Cut out two black stripes of paper and show your pre-schooler how they can form the letter “V”.  Practice the sound of the letter “V” as you do so.

Step 4: Have your child glue the black stripes into the letter “V” onto the mountain shape to create the volcanoes crater.

Step 5: If you are using finger paints (Store bought or homemade) have your child add lava to the picture. Otherwise your child could use crayons or markers.

Step 6: Let this dry and then display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.





Materials: Brown paper, red glitter glue or glitter, cotton balls for smoke, glue stick, white glue, wax paper, damp cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Have your child cut out a basic mountain shape and then glue it to a piece of paper using a glue stick.

Step 2: Add some white glue to a piece of wax paper to dip the cotton balls in.  Have yoru child place the cotton balls onto the volcano as the volcanic clouds or dust erupting.

Step 3: Let your child use some glitter glue to squeeze lava flow onto the picture or if you don’t have glitter glue your child could squeeze some white glue and then sprinkle some red glitter over.

Step 4: Let this dry and then display!



Materials: Brown paper lunch bag, red and orange tissue paper, white glue, child safe scissors, pencil, damp cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Have your child crunch up a brown paper lunch bag.

Step 2: smooth the lunch bag out again and then cut out a tall mountain shape.

Step 3: Apply glue to the edges only of the paper bag and then round the paper a bit to create a 3D effect.

Step 4: Cut out small squares of tissue paper in red and orange.

Step 5: Show your child how to mold the tissue square around the eraser end of a pencil and then dip the pencil and tissue into some glue on a piece of wax paper and then press onto the picture.. Now let your child try this on his/her own.

Step 6 : Repeat step 5 until your child is happy enough with all the bits of lava and flame erupting form the volcano.

Step 7: Let this dry and then display!



Materials: Brown paper, paper plate, orange or red tissue paper or streamers, tape.

Step 1: Roll a piece of brown paper into a cone type shape with an open top. Tape the paper together to keep this shape.

Step 2: Cut some slits at the bottom on the cone so that it can be taped to a paper plate.

Step 3: Have your child tape the cone to a paper plate.

Step 4: Have your child cut out strips of red and orange tissue paper and then insert them/stuff them into the top of the cone.  We stuffed enough so that they stood on their own and didn’t need any tape to hold them.

Step 4: Display or let your child use this with animal toys or action figures to play with. 






Yogurt and Cone Volcano :


Ingredients: Ice cream cone (not flat bottomed), vanilla yogurt, red or orange food colouring.


Step 1: Mix some yogurt with food coloring to make the lava.

Step 2: Put the cone on a plate upside-down and top with coloured yogurt to look like a volcano.





              Volcano Sandwich:


I was going to make up my own volcano shaped sandwich for this Theme Day but when I found this idea on Pinterest I wanted to use it as it was so cute and creative.  For the original link check here: http://www.creativekidsnacks.com/2014/02/08/volcano-lunch/





              Volcanic Mashed Potatoes:


I must admit the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind inspired this dinner idea.  Just make mashed potatoes and mound them as a volcanic mountain and top with ketchup!





 Upside-Down Volcano Cupcakes:


I made chocolate cupcakes and then we turned them upside-down and drizzled orange icing over top.


Chocolate Lava Cakes:


My Eldest loves to cook and try new recipes, so when we had this Theme Day he really wanted to try to make Chocolate Lava Cakes.  We used the recipe found in the Master Chef Cookbook.  Our cakes were delicious but didn’t hold up very well.  Looks like we are not Master Chefs yet!! For a photo of our attempt at making this delicious dessert check out my More Goodies Photo Album on my Facebook Page.






Print out a copy of my The Structure of the Earth Worksheet and together as a family label the diagram. You may use the internet or research books you’ve taken from the library to find the answers.



Print out a copy of my Basic Volcano Worksheet and together as a family label the diagram.  You may use the internet or research books you’ve found at the library to find the answers.



Print out my Types of Volcanoes Chart and together as a family find four basic types of volcanoes online or by reading library books.  My sons drew diagrams of Cinder, Compound, Shield and Composite Volcanoes.



Print out a copy of my Volcano Trivia Matching Worksheet and together as a family see if you can match the actual volcano to the description.  To view the answers check here: Volcano Trivia Answer Key.



You may not want to take the time to create an elaborate Papier Mâché volcano as we did, but you can still show your children a mini explosion with just these materials: empty juice bottle (wide mouthed),  roasting pan or baking sheet, 2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda, ½ cup (125 mL) vinegar, a few drops of red food coloring, ½ tsp of liquid dish soap.

Step 1: Put the bottle on a baking tray to catch the spillage.

Step 2: Use a funnel to pour the baking powder inside the bottle.

Step 3: In a measuring cup that can pour, mix the vinegar, dish soup and red food coloring.

Step 4: Pour the liquid mixture into the bottle and then watch the mini explosion!



                 This was a Spring Break project!  We took our time and did a different step each day.


                 Materials: large piece of cardboard, old newspapers, duct tape, empty wide-mouthed juice bottle, white glue, paper cup, old paintbrush, coloured pants (we used white, grey, green, orange and red), newspaper or plastic to cover your work space, 1 cup of vinegar, 4 tablespoons of baking soda, a few drops of red food coloring, 1 tsp liquid dish soap.


                 DAY 1: We gathered all our supplies on day one and then taped the bottle to a large piece of cardboard.  We crumpled newspaper and formed it around the bottle in a mountain shape and used duct tape to tape the crumpled paper down.  We cut many strips of newspaper so that everything would be ready for the next day, as well.


DAY 2 and 3: We made a simple paste of one part water and one part white glue and made this in a disposable paper cup.  We mixed this mixture until combined using old paintbrushes.  Then we covered the strips of newspaper that we cut out the day before with this glue mixture and laid them on top of the crumpled paper to create a mountain.    We made one layer and left it to dry over night and then applied another layer the next day.  We kept the water and glue mixture in the cup and it stayed moist over night so we didn’t need to make another mixture.


Day 4: We painted the mountain with a base coat of white paint and left it to dry over night.


Day 5: My boys then painted the volcano grey and then painted some red lava flow.  We left this to dry over night.


Day 6: The BIG EXPLOSION DAY at last!  We used a funnel to pour the baking soda into the volcano and then mixed the liquid in a pourable measuring cup.  Once we poured the mixture into the hidden bottle it bubbled up and overflowed.  My boys added LEGO men for added fun before we poured the vinegar mixture!




To watch lava engulf a can of pasta check here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8NXO6YxBmU


To watch a 22 minute film about Mount St. Helens (made in the 80s) click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zHgwiOK3oU


To watch a half hour of great volcanic action check out EarthUncutTv’s Best Volcano Eruption Footage Shots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPchWu5GB4M




Q: What did one volcano say to the other volcano?
A: I lava you.

Q: What do volcanoes like to eat for dinner?

A: Ashed potatoes




Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand) to find your child’s favourite about volcanoes.

Try to find these learning titles:

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Volcanoes, Disney Educational Productions, 2003


The Magic School Bus: All About the Earth, Scholastic 2013 – this has four episodes with one entitled “Blows Its Top” that focuses on volcanoes.



If you are fortunate enough to go on vacation somewhere near a volcano take a tour and visit it!  There are many interesting things to learn and see at Volcanic National Parks.


Halema’uma’u Crater,

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Journaling about Volcanoes

Volcano Word Search

Four Volcano Crafts

Cone Volcano Craft

Volcano Inspired Foods

Volcano Learning Printables

Papier-mâché Volcano Experiment Project

(Step by Step)

Photo: C Wright

Volcano Colouring Page






A simple Volcano experiment.