Monday, March 9, 2015

Volcano Day (with a sensory kiddo)!!

Now, everyone knows one of the classic science experiments you have to do as a little kid - especially a little homeschool kid - is the baking soda volcano. Well, that volcano is included in the Magic School Bus chemistry set as the final experiment. The card was missing a few things on the materials list, so it got set to the side for a while, until I could get all the things in the house.


The first thing to note is that the volcano is made with a litre bottle as a base. Then you make it into a cone with construction paper. This is the child's play part of the experiment. Because what comes next? Papier-mâché. This is where it gets interesting. Mad Natter has some sensory issues, much like I do, which make certain textures and temperatures a big no-no for him. Papier-mâché hits most of them. Like the crazy artsy mama I can be, however, I cut up my strips of newspaper, made a flour-water paste, and taught Mad Natter how to use the paste to glue the newsprint onto the construction paper cone. He had an attack at the notion of putting his hands in the bowl of paste, though we took steps to make sure he was protected and his clothes wouldn't get covered. After I did the first few strips, he got in there and did one... and then went immediately to wash his hands. This was how the process went.

In essence, I built the volcano, with every fifth strip being done by Mad Natter, who had to go wash the gunk off his hands after each strip. I was lucky enough to be able to convince him he only needed soap the last time, so he didn't wash his poor hands into cracked and bleeding oblivion. Slowly, the volcano got built. Then it had to dry. Mad Natter was much happier about that part than he was about sticking his hands in the bowl of paste.

The next day, we got out our paint brushes and set to work painting our volcano black. I got the crevices, which he didn't want to leave unpainted, but didn't have the patience to paint himself, and he got the bulk of the volcano. Then, he decided that the black volcano shouldn't rise out of brown cardboard ground, so that got painted, and I was pretty proud of myself getting the kibosh put on the painting before he took to painting the table. After all, we're talking non-washable paint here.

Once the volcano dried, we needed to wait. We had to wait until it was after our regular game-day company came and went, until a weekend, until Skeeve and Omero could watch. Then we got underway. The volcano went as predicted, though there were occasional shrieks about the lava getting all over the floor (deliberately the tile floor!), and requests to do the eruption again. Overall, I'd say even with a sensory kid, this is a great experiment - just make sure you're not planning on them doing the actual mountain construction.