Beat Cabin Fever – Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments by Mike Adamick


Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments (April 18, 2014) by Mike Adamick is the science behind, “But,why, Dad?!”


Don’t get caught off guard by your kids’ science questions. You and your family can learn all about the ins and outs of chemistry, biology, physics, the human body, and our planet with a little help from popular dad blogger Mike Adamick – great for school vacations.


From Mike, “I’m excited to share all the fun kitchen sink science experiments I’ve done with my daughter over the years. Rockets. Eruptions. Neat experiments with air pressure and gravity. Fun ways to blend science into snack time. We’re big believers in tinkering and failing and trying again or just making stuff up and having fun. We’re also big believers in the idea that you don’t need to go out and buy a mess of supplies — you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen or medicine cabinet to explore the wonders of science right now. Think MacGyver meets Mr. Wizard. Now that’s how I like to spend my afternoons.”


Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments will bring out the mad scientists in your family–in no time!

We received this book to facilitate this feature and my son loves it! He can’t wait to try many of the Science Experiments in this book! Below is one of his favorites in the book:

Volcano-Before   Volcano-Process

Volcano-Final1   Volcano-Final2

Excerpted from Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments by Mike Adamick. Copyright © 2014 F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos by Mike Adamick.

About the Author: Mike Adamick (San Francisco, CA) is the author of Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects (Adams Media, 2013) and a stay-at-home dad who writes for the Adventures in Learning science blog at, The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED Radio, Disney’s parenting website,, and the Daddy Issues column on His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, Details magazine, The New York Observer, NPR, and other media outlets.


Volcano Time!


If you grew up watching endless Brady Bunch reruns you’re probably familiar with Peter Brady’s volcano—a mud-spewing, steep-sided science project that sent showers of muck and sludge all over Peter’s sister, Marsha, and her snooty friends. It was the coolest thing ever.


There’s a good chance that this one episode alone launched our love affair with kitchen-sink volcano projects—an experiment so simple that you and your lab partner can most likely do it right now with stuff you already have in the kitchen. All you really need is vinegar, baking soda, and a bottle to mix them in, but it is much cooler to use good ol’ fashioned backyard dirt to construct a volcano model around the bottle first and then conduct the experiment.

Either way you do it, this is a science experiment with serious thrills. But it also expertly mimics what happens under the earth’s crust to create volcanic eruptions.


Here’s Why It Works

When the solid baking soda (sodium bicarbonate—a base) mixes with the liquid vinegar (acetic acid—a weak acid), a chemical reaction occurs and forms a gas (carbon dioxide). All those bubbles and foam? They’re evidence of gas, and as the gas expands, it looks for an escape route for all that built-up pressure. So the foam and bubbles rise until they flood out of your bottle’s opening.

Pretty much the same exact thing is happening under the earth right now.

The earth’s crust is made up of many sections of superthick shell—65-plus miles thick!—called tectonic plates that are always moving, very slowly, over the much, much hotter inner earth. Most of the world’s volcanoes are found where two or more of these tectonic plates meet one another. Sometimes those plates shift and sometimes they collide, forming escape routes in the earth’s crust for molten rocks and gas, called magma. Much like the carbon dioxide in your baking soda–vinegar experiment seeks the quickest escape route to relieve pressure, the gases in the underground magma do the same thing before erupting out of a volcano.


Not all eruptions are alike, however. Sometimes the gases in the magma are easily released from the earth’s crust and the result is a slow, oozing spread of superhot lava. But sometimes the gases stay trapped beneath cooled magma and rock building up pressure until they erupt in violent explosions that can send ash and boulders flying up to 20 miles high. In fact, airplane pilots keep track of volcano activity around the earth, just to be sure they don’t fly into clouds of dangerous ash.

Here’s What You Need


Baking soda


A bottle (a good vase with a wide bottom and slender top also works well, but use whatever you can find)

Red food dye


Toilet paper

Here’s What You Do


1. First add the vinegar to your bottle and dye it red with food coloring. Then, rip out a few sheets of toilet paper and make a pouch for the baking soda. Use your string to tie the pouch and then insert the pouch into your bottle, using the bottle cap to hold the other end of the string so that the pouch dangles above your “lava.” (See Fig. 1.)

2. If you’re feeling super science-y/crafty, let your lab partner shape a volcano model out of backyard mud and dirt around the bottle. Note: you don’t have to do this, but go big or go home, right?

3. When your volcano model is ready, lift the cap and watch the pouch drop into the lava. It will foam up slowly, mimicking the slow buildup of earth’s gases, until the vinegar fully soaks the tissue paper. Then, the fun really begins, as the foam begins to climb the bottle, looking for an escape route. Just stand back, and watch the foam erupt. It’s really that easy!


Want More?

There are many, many ways to perform this experiment, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Try mixing the vinegar and baking soda in a bottle, and then quickly place a balloon over the bottle opening. While this doesn’t create a lava explosion, the gases will inflate the balloon. Pretty cool, right? Or, put baking soda in small snack-size zip bag and seal tightly with a bit of air in the bag. Place the baking soda bag in a larger zip bag that is filled with vinegar and seal that bag tightly, with as little air as possible in the big bag. Now use your fist to smash the tiny baking soda bag and stand back. You just made a sandwich bag bomb, using the same chemical reactions as your volcano.

For this one and many more, check out this book! My son and I highly recommend it!

More about the book:

From Rock Candy Crystals to Magnetic Fields, each of these fun science projects features easy-to-understand instructions that can be carried out by even the youngest of lab partners, as well as awesome, full-color photographs that guide you through each step.


Complete with 30 interactive experiments and explanations for how and why they work, this book will inspire your family to explore the science behind:


  • Chemistry, with Soap Clouds
  • Biology, with Hole-y Walls
  • Physics, with Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters
  • Planet Earth, with Acid Rain
  • The Human Body, with Marshmallow Pulse Keepers

Praise for Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects:

“From circus stilts to cupcakes, these creations are of the ‘anybody can do it’ variety—less Martha, more Everyman (or woman). A great Father’s Day gift for handy dads who want to cultivate crafty kids, too.” — Parade Magazine

“Wow, is it fun. And not just for dads, by the way. I’m impressed with the diversity of the projects which are perfect for both girls and boys, as well as moms and dads. Snatch it up before school’s out and you’ll be more than ready when summer hits. Or even Father’s Day.” — Cool Mom Picks

“Step-by-step instructions for superhero capes, eggshell cupcakes and a backyard swing set are included, all with a no-coddling, do-it-yourself mentality.” —San Francisco Chronicle

The projects in Mike Adamick’s new craft collection, Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects, aren’t designed for experts–just families who want some good, possibly quite messy fun.” — Huffington Post Parents

Mike Adamick (San Francisco, CA) is the author of Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects (Adams Media, 2013)and a stay-at-home dad who writes for the Adventures in Learning science blog at, The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED Radio, Disney’s parenting website,, and the Daddy Issues column on His work has also appeared in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s,Details magazine, The New York Observer, NPR, and other media outlets.

Self Disclosure: I received a book for free to facilitate this feature but any opinions expressed are truthful. Photo and Volcano Instructions credit as listed above.

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