V is for Volcano

We had so much fun during our V is for Volcano unit... Here are a few of the things we did as we learned about Volcanoes!

Learning the Letters
By the time we reached letter V, we knew most of sounds and letters pretty well. We enjoyed watching the Starfall Letter V animations and drawing V's with chalk. We also did a craft (see below) that reinforced the shape of the letter V. Also, to review some of the words my older son was learning to read, I motivated him by drawing a volcano on top of his word list. Each time he read a word correctly, I would draw a bit more of a volcano picture. When he completed the list of words, I made the volcano "explode" all over the word list (by drawing lots of squiggly lava lines to cover up the words). It was a simple thing, but my 4-year-old loved it.

Below are a few of the volcano-themed books we read.

Island Grows, An by Lola M. Schaefer and Cathie Felstead
This beautiful, simple picture book shows how an island grows and changes after it is created by a volcano.

Dear Katie, the Volcano is a Girl IS a Girl by Jean Craighead George
This picture book is fun because it alternates between telling a legend about volcanoes and telling the scientific facts about volcanoes.

Hill of Fire: Grades 2-4 (An I Can Read Book Level 3) by  Thomas P. Lewis, Joan Sandin and Brian Amador
This picture book tells the story of the birth of the volcano Paricutin in Mexico. My boys were fascinated by the true story of a volcano that emerged in a farmer's field.

Tristan's Temper Tantrum  by Caroline Formby
My kids loved this imaginative, make believe story about a young volcano having a temper tantrum. And it has a good lesson--Tristan the volcano learns in the end that it is better to control his temper so he won't be so lonely.

This was a great nonfiction book about Volcanoes. The "chapters" were short enough for me to read to my 4-year-old (although it was still too dense for my 2-year-old).

Of course, we had to do the classic vinegar and baking soda volcanoes in our backyard. My kids loved this and we went through a whole bottle of vinegar making volcanoes.

To make a vinegar and baking soda volcano, pour some vinegar and red food coloring in a small container and then add baking soda for an "eruption." You can pile up dirt or playdough or sand around the container to make it look more like an actual volcano.

We also learned some other basic facts about volcanoes such as the names for parts of a volcano, and some of the science behind why volcanoes exist and why the erupt. We learned through books and YouTube videos, and I also demonstrated some things with our play dough. Here's a YouTube video my kids loved of the bubbling lava from volcanoes:

For a little history lesson, we talked about memorable volcano eruptions in history from Pompeii, to Paricutin, to Mt. St. Helens. We pointed out these volcanoes in books we read, and I showed my kids some related video clips on YouTube.

We made this Letter V is for Volcano craft. The "volcano" was a large V that I drew onto a piece of brown paper. I helped my kids practice cutting out the large V's themselves. Then, I cut out several small red and orange V's and they chose which small V's they wanted to glue on to their volcanoes as "lava."

In addition, for a more open-ended, child led project, the kids painted their own volcanoes with their paint sets. I just provided the paint and paper, and I let them create their paintings of volcanoes however they liked. My older son had a very careful volcano made from dot painters, whereas my younger son had a 

Sensory Bin
For a sensory activity, we made volcanoes out of play dough and played with dinosaurs and other action figures in the playdough volcanoes. During that time I also helped my children learn names of the parts of volcanoes such as vent, crater, etc.

For snack time, we made strawberry volcanoes with whipped cream "lava." I simply cut the top off of a strawberry, placed the strawberry upside down on a plate, and squirted a little whipped cream on top.

In addition, for dinner time, we had baked potato volcanoes with ketchup lava.

Games and Songs
My kids loved playing make believe volcanoes. They would curl up in balls on the floor then start shaking and pretend to "erupt." They also pretended to be volcanologists climbing down inside volcanoes to study them. For music time, the kids did like this Volcano song we found on YouTube:

My kids were very fascinated with our V is for Volcano unit and since we ended that unit, we have revisited the topic of volcanoes many more times in our books and pretend play. For more V is for Volcano ideas, see my Pinterest Board!

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