Owing to the scary track of Hurricane Isaac through the Gulf Coast, my university decided to cancel the first three days of classes this semester. (This is apparently the welcome party Florida is throwing me.) The local school system is also closed, and my daughter's preschool closed at noon today.
While we wait out what I hope will be just a bad storm (current projections have landfall at least three hours west of us), I stocked up on supplies to keep a 3-year-old entertained for three days, assuming that at least part of that time we may not have power. So I picked up a new dinosaur puzzle for her, which she quickly finished but pointed to the volcano, asking, "What's that?"
I explained to her what a volcano was and showed her a YouTube video of a volcano erupting. Then I realized we could just make one. So you too can make a volcano with your favorite 3-year-old in just a few minutes' time if you have: a ramekin, a funnel with a wide end about the same size as the ramekin, playdoh or clay, baking soda, and vinegar.
Simply fill the ramekin with baking soda. Upend the funnel and secure it to the ramekin with whatever little bits of groddy playdoh and mixtures of color you have lying around. Let toddler pour vinegar in and watch the bubbles and "lava" spew out the top:
As you can see, I only had balsamic in the house. But it made for a reasonable lava color. Afterwards, the kiddo wanted to taste her experiment. We dipped some crusty Italian bread in and had a nice little snack (albeit a tad too baking soda-y). Mmmm, tastes like science!