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Explosion of Feelings: Volcano Making


As a specialist in the hospital you work with kids who can become very angry over what their experiencing or they can become incredibly withdrawn and shut down. There is a great solution to help build trust with kids and support them emotionally. The intervention that many specialists use is making volcanos with kids. As a parent or caregiver, we experience our kids going through similar situations.

There are a number of reasons why a child may display aggression or become withdrawn. Children who become a new big brother or sister, have a loss of a loved one, have been hospitalized, have experienced trauma or are just going through normal growth and development. Building the volcano is great time to have a discussion about feelings. Naming feelings and talking about what their body feels with each emotion. Giving an example of how your body feels when your upset or sad. Normalizing these emotions is also very important. You can discuss how some people keep all their feelings locked deep, down inside their body. There may be too many feelings bottled up inside for us to contain and that’s when we explode, just like a volcano. This is when the aggression, tantrums and overwhelming flood of emotions pour out. Coping strategies should also be discussed. Helping the child think of a variety of ways to express their feelings before they get to the point of explosion. Playing, drawing, writing, talking, deep breathing, whatever they choose. Help support their coping strategy by taking it a step further and providing the materials or safe area for them to express themselves. Maybe a quiet corner with books and crafts or maybe a bean bag to jump on and hit. photo-1-1

Here are the supplies that you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Food Coloring
  • Dixie Cup
  • Plastic/Paper Cup
  • Play dough
  • Tape
  • Plastic Table Cloth, Newspaper (something to protect the floor or table)
  • Large Paper Plate
  • Action Figures (optional)

If possible, let the child choose the color of the play dough, food coloring and action figures.

Step 1:

Tape the bottom of the dixie cup to the bottom of the large plastic cup. Place them on top of the paper plate.


Step 2:

Using the play dough build around the paper cups and add the action figures. They can be placed inside, around, where ever the child chooses.


Step 3:

Add food coloring to the vinegar.

Step 4:

Put some baking soda inside the dixie cup.


Step 5:

Add the vinegar to the dixie cup and watch the volcano explode!

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