Preschool STEM: Volcano

SCIENCE is back this week for Preschool STEM. Today’s volcano experiment is an attention grabber with kids and an excellent example of chemical reactions.

Volcanos: Activity & Conversation Starters

1. Fill a small plastic cup 2/3 full with water (we’re adding math!). Place the cup in a bowl or on a cookie tray to catch the eruption.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

3. Do you want your volcano to erupt with more foam? Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap.

4. Do you want colored lava? Add a small squirt of washable paint.

5. Stir.

6. Pour in vinegar and watch the reaction. What do you observe (see, hear, smell)?

7. Optional: Build a volcano with Legos or Duplos!

What’s Happening?

You’re watching a chemical reaction! When an acid (the vinegar) and a base (the baking soda) mix they form a gas called carbon dioxide.

Share a picture of your volcano experiment! Email us at or share via Facebook. 

Click here for printable instructions! (PDF)

Riddle: Crossing the River

Kids, do you love a good riddle? If you do, we challenge you to solve our Crossing the River riddle! While we provide our answer below, we’d love to hear your solutions. Email us at to share your solutions and photos!

Riddle: Crossing the River

You have a dinosaur, a pack of fruit snacks, and a goat.

You must cross the Chippewa River, but you can bring only one at a time.

If you leave the dinosaur with the goat, the dinosaur will eat the goat.

If you leave the goat with the fruit snacks, the goat will eat the fruit snacks.

How do you get all three across the river safely?

Printable color copy here (PDF)

For the riddle’s solution, click here for a video or click here for text.

Try-It Tray: Paper Towns

Are you running low on craft supplies? Worry not! This edition of our Try-It Tray uses only a few household art supplies and your imagination.

Paper Towns

This is an easy, open-ended activity that I think kids might really enjoy, because the idea came from my 11-year-old daughter Maddie!


  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Pencils or markers

I gave Maddie some colorful paper scraps to help us both get through an afternoon of virtual meetings, and two days later she had an entire paper town! I find it perfectly charming, as do the small animal figures that Maddie uses to play act within her creation. Do you see them in the library? It’s a bit like a homemade dollhouse, isn’t it? Fun!

I love the way she labeled places and objects, which is such a great literacy exercise. I also think it gives her comfort to bring the outside in. She is missing her favorite Eau Claire destinations, and it helps her to hold them near and imagine a positive future.

We’d love to see your paper towns! Email your photos to and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery.