How to Make a Model Volcano

by : Patricia B. Jensen

Kids love magic tricks and special effects becse they surprise and delight with the unexpected. Here's a collection of easy yet impressive special effects to try at your next kids party.

But beware... kids are naturally inquisitive, and will want to know how you achieved your spectacular results. Keep it mysterious, and you'll be the hit of the party crowd!

Erupting Volcano

Start by lining a box lid (edges should be about 2 inches high) with foil or use a large metal pan. Fill with wet sand. Place an empty soup can in the center and press the sand around the can to form your volcano mountain. For the best effect, completely conceal the can. Spoon 1/4 cup baking soda into the can and place the box on a surface protected with a pltic tablecloth or newspers.

To erupt the volcano, pour a portion of the activation solution into the can. When this is added to the baking soda, it will make flowing 'lava'. Let your party guests take turns adding a bit of solution to the can to cause further eruptions.

Activation Solution - 1 cup water, 3/4 cup vineg, ? cup dishwhing liquid, 10 drops of red food coloring and 10 drops of yellow food coloring.

Volcano Cake

Make a bundt cake and frost it in chocolate frosting. Decorate with palm trees and small plastic dinosrs: Before serving, take a pint of chocolate ice cream and place over the hole in the center of the cake. Pour strawberry syrup over it for volcano lava. Serve and enjoy!

Viation: Frost the cake white and use vanilla ice cream for a different look.

Spinning Vortex

Take two empty 2-liter bottles and fill one about one third with water. Put the bottle openings together, with the empty bottle upside down on top of the full one. Place a 3/8 inch metal washer in the opening between the two bottles and duct te them together carefully.

When you're ready to make a vortex, reverse the bottles so the full one is on top. Swirl the top bottle in a circular motion until a spinning vortex begins to form in the water. It will continue until all the water has funneled through the washer and into the bottom bottle. Just reverse the bottles to create another vortex.

Party Punch with Pizzazz

Mix up a batch of one of the following party punches:

Smoldering Swamp Water

Mix equal parts Ice Cool Arctic Green Apple flavor Kool-Aid with ginger ale, or try any green beverage such as 7-UP.

Bubbling Love Potion

Mix equal parts cherry Kool-Aid & ginger ale for a colorful and fizzy love potion drink.

Here's where the fun starts...

Place a piece of dry ice in a sealed plastic container. Punch or cut holes in the container lid. Before serving drop the container into the punch bowl for a very cool effect!

Important: Always use caution when handling dry ice! Use tongs or heavy gloves so it does not touch bare skin as burn will result. Do not put the dry ice directly in the punch; it should NOT be ingested.

Frozen Hand

Fill an unpowdered surgical glove with water. Add green food coloring for a creepier look. Securely twist tie the end and hang from a shelf in the freezer. Once frozen, cut off the glove and float hand in your punch bowl for a nice 'touch'!


Take a cup of water and add to it 1 Tbs. of borax (available in the laundry section of the grocery store). Stir until completely dissolved. Take 1/4 cup of white glue and 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. In a ziploc bag, add equal parts of the borax solution to equal parts of the glue solution. A half cup of each will make a cup of slime. Add a couple drops of green food coloring. Seal bag and knead the mixture.

Fake Blood

Karo brand corn syrup

Red and blue food coloring


Add some red food coloring to the corn syrup, then just a drop or two of blue to get a more realistic dark color. Milk will make the blood appear more opue and more realistic.

Note: This mixture is sticky and can stain clothes.

These cool special effects are perfect for a mad scientist party, a dinosaur party, a Halloween party... just use your imagination and have fun! They add a unique twist to any kids party and will make your child's special day a truly memorable event!