Autism Volcano

No I’m not referring to a meltdown. I talking about an actual volcano.


My son is in 4th grade and they are learning about earth sciences. A page came home saying that each child was to create a model of either a volcano, landslide, or earthquake. Then they had to stand up in front of the class and give an explanation about their project. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. My son is Autistic and he is still getting a handle on his speech.

I was thinking that an earthquake would be easier for him to understand and explain, but dad was home and two boys together means explosions, the gooier the better. Dad and son sat down to look though YouTube videos and my son got really excited about volcanos.  (I’m sure dad didn’t have any influence there!)



So out came the newspaper, flour and water. Paper mache here we come.

With a newspaper base held together by tape, the volcano started to take shape.

My son spent a lot of his time trying to get the paste mixture off of his hands even licking his fingers at one point. He doesn’t like sticky things so this was a real challenge for him.

A couple of days later the paper mache was dry and it was time to paint.IMG_7394

He was very particular about what color he wanted the mountain. I couldn’t be gray. It had to be brown and dark brown.

He painted the whole thing by himself with dad’s guidance.

Dad IMG_7385helped him drizzle some red, yellow, and orange paint around the topto IMG_7387make it look like lava.

Then of course they had to add some dinosaurs. What’s a volcano without dinosaurs?

Finally, dad sprayed the outside with a sealant because we didn’t want the volcano to melt the very first try.

While waiting for the paint to dry, our intrepid scientist began practicing their lava techniques.

IMG_7410They filled my sink with blue foaming IMG_7412lava and then orange foaming lava.

Who know vinegar, food coloring, and some baking soda could be so entertaining?

Once they had the formula right, dad mixed up a handy portable version for or son to take to school. We wouldn’t be there to help him. He was going to have to do it all by himself.

All that was left was for us to find a way to explain how a volcano worked. Dad came to the rescue again. He broke down the whole process on the whiteboard. Our son eventually got the idea. There’s a balloon that’s filled with lava in the earth and it goes pop and out comes lava.


I know that is not scientifically accurate but my son understands the general principal and he was able to tell us the steps of how a volcano erupts in his own way. I’d say that’s a win and all thanks to dad.





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