Looking for an easy science experiment using items in your kitchen? Try this fun lemon volcano experiment with kids! You only need a lemon, baking soda and food coloring!
RELATED: Baking Soda Volcano
Lemon Volcano Experiment
For an easy kitchen science experiment – try this lemon volcano experiment!
Kids will love learning about the science of base and acid reactions. You don’t need vinegar to do this experiment because the citric acid in the lemon will be your acid!
If you don’t have a lemon, see our baking soda volcano experiment that uses vinegar instead.
What happens when you mix lemon and baking soda?
You see the bubbling and foaming but what is causing this reaction? The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the lemon (citric acid) is an acid and what you are seeing is an acid/base reaction. Initially, the reaction makes carbonic acid which is unstable and breaks down into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water which is what creates all of the fizzing and bubbles as the gas leaves the water.
What is Citric Acid?
Citric acid occurs naturally in lemons. It’s also in limes, oranges, pineapples and other fruits. It is a common additive in food and beverages added to help preserve the food from food spoilage. It is also added to some food and drinks to give a sour taste.
Supplies Needed to Make a Lemon Volcano
– Baking Soda – we like this large 5 lb bag for activities since it’s more economical
– Lemons (use 1/2 lemon per color – if you want to make all 6 colors you’ll need 3 lemons)
– Concentrated Food Coloring – we used orange, green and blue – or you can choose any color you’d like. We like to use this liquid food coloring gel since it’s concentrated and makes the colors really vibrant.
– Dish Soap – any kind should work
– A Popsicle Stick or Spoon
– A Tray – we like these plastic white serving trays for messy experiments or sensory play
Watch the Video Tutorial Here
How to Make a Lemon Volcano
1. Cut the lemons.
Start by cutting off a small part on the bottom of the lemon so that the lemon will stand up. Note: Adults to do the cutting portion of the experiment.
2. Add some baking soda to the top of each lemon.
You don’t have to measure exactly but approximately 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda to the top of the lemon will work well.
Another way to do this experiment is to scoop out the lemon juice from inside the lemon and put it into a squeeze bottle. Then, add the baking soda directly into the empty lemons and have kids squeeze the lemon juice on top of it.
3. Add a few drops of food coloring on top.
To prevent the food coloring from dropping down the side of the lemon, make a small space in the baking soda for it to sit in.
4. To make the volcano more bubbly, add a drop of dish soap on top.
This is optional but it makes the volcano more bubbly.
5. Use a popsicle stick to mix it all together.
Note: food coloring can stain hands so kids can wear gloves or use large popsicle sticks to avoid touching the food coloring.
Kids will love mixing the baking soda and lemon together to create these mini volcanoes using science.
This experiment is a really fun way to see how baking soda reacts with lemon juice!
To keep the volcano going, you can use extra lemons to make lemon juice and use a squeeze bottle or dropper to add more lemon juice onto the lemons.
To see a version without lemons and learn about color mixing – see our regular baking soda volcano experiment!
More Science Experiments
Try this fun and easy Grow a Rainbow Experiment. You only need washable markers and paper towel!
For another fun experiment, make some oobleck!
Try a rainbow rain cloud in the jar experiment!