Volcanic Gourds
October 2019

Last month we introduced gourds to the toddlers at Owl-Our Lady of Fatima. We left these plants out for the children to explore in our sensory bin, along with other fall materials such as fresh leaves from a tree we collected and pine cones. The children enjoyed exploring their textures, comparing which ones felt bumpy and which ones were smooth. Often times the toddlers would exclaim “pumpkin” when they’d see them in the table.

We wanted to take this interest and exploration of the gourds further and started wondering: what can we do with gourds? We’d already cut one open and discovered what was inside, so what if we used a gourd in a way that was unusual? Our brainstorming and research led us to a fun, interactive, and engaging science activity: volcanic gourds.
toddler girl and boy with gourd in sensory bin
toddler boy holding dropper over gourd with white bubble growing up
At first the toddlers had a difficult time learning how to pinch the eye droppers in order to get enough vinegar inside of it. Henry was the first one to manage it, and as the vinegar dropped into the gourd he excitedly exclaimed “bubbles!” watching the reaction that occurred. Myla said “look bubbles, look!” and began stirring the gourd with her eyedropper, trying to get the same reaction.

“I wonder what will happen if we pour the vinegar in?” Vanessa said. “Eliza will you help me?” Together Eliza and Vanessa picked up the cup of vinegar and poured it onto the pumpkin looking gourd; instantly the reaction occurred, looking like a pot boiling over! “Wow” Eliza said, staring. “Can you hear it sizzle?” Laura asked, engaging another sense: sound. “Ssssss” Tobias replied.

Henry wanted to pour vinegar into the other gourd, the one with the narrow top. Vanessa held the gourd up while Henry picked up the vinegar and tipped it over. The reaction looked volcanic as the bubbles shot up and over the opening of the gourd!
adult holding gourd for toddler child with dropper
toddler girl with dropper bubbles erupting from  gourd
As the bubbles cleared we discovered that the seeds from the gourd had become loose and were either floating in the vinegar at the top of the gourd, or they had spilled over and into the bin. The children enjoyed adding more baking soda and vinegar and watching the bubbly reaction again and again!

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Cambridge, Ontario
N3C 2H5

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(519) 220-1148


portrait of lisa

Lisa Rintoul, RECE

Headshot of Tracey Ruppenthal

Tracey Ruppenthal, RECE
Assistant Supervisor