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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 per color)
– 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
– A Strainer and Lemon Juicer to get the lemon juice out of the lemon
Watch the Video Tutorial Here
How to Make a Lemon Volcano
1. 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. Cut off the top of the lemon so that you can scoop out the inside of the lemon.
Take the lemon from the top and bottom of each lemon and squeeze all of the lemon juice into a bowl.
Strain out the lemon juice so you can get rid of the thick pulp and seeds. You should now have an empty lemon and all of the juice from the lemon in a bowl.
3. In small bowls, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
4. Add a few drops of food coloring with 1/2 tablespoon of water. This makes the food coloring easier to mix with the baking soda. But you can also add this directly into the baking soda bowl to save a step.
5. Add the food colored water to the baking soda. Mix together so you have colored baking soda.
We made green, blue and orange baking soda to make 3 lemons. If you plan on only making 1 lemon then you’ll only need 1 color.
6. Pour the lemon juice into a squeeze bottle.
7. Add the baking soda into the lemons. It may start to bubble slightly.
8. Add a drop of dish soap into each lemon. This helps to make the eruption bigger so it looks more like a volcano.
9. Start to pour the lemon juice into each lemon to create the volcano. It will start to bubble over the lemon now. You can use a popsicle stick to mix the lemon juice more with the baking soda and make it bubble up more.
Now you can repeat the experiment with your other lemons and colors!
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!