Inside the Crater


What’s inside the crater of an active volcano? Bubbling red magma. Show molten lava flowing from a "fire mountain" that looks really hot!


1. About 4000 million years ago, the Earth was a mass of erupting volcanoes. Those powerful eruptions helped make our planet what is it like today. Volcanoes created atmospheric gases, seawater, and much of the Earth’s land formations. Find out why volcanoes erupt. Study how the molten rock from deep within the Earth, called magma, builds up. Eventually, it vents out from between the plates of the Earth’s surface. After the magma breaches the surface, it breaks down into gas, water vapor, and lava, or liquid material.

2. Research the five different types of eruptions. In a Hawaiian eruption, for example, runny lava spreads at speeds up to 90 miles (50 km) per hour.

3. Show what you’ve learned about volcanoes by making a realistic-looking model. Decide on the type of volcano and its location. The ideas here describe one way to make a Hawaiian eruption on an island. Your volcano might be in a tropical jungle, a sandy desert, beneath the ocean, or near a frosty glacier. Use your imagination to recreate a unique, accurate eruption.

4. Create the setting. Cover your art area with recycled newspaper. With Crayola® Artista II Tempera and a sponge, cover a large piece of sturdy cardboard for your volcano’s location, such as an ocean. Air-dry the base.

5. To make an island in the sea, press out a thin layer of white Crayola Model Magic. Air-dry the island at least 24 hours.

6. Depending on the location of your "fire mountain," paint your setting in lush tropical colors, muted sand hues, or as a speckled, crusty glacier. A recycled foam produce tray makes a good palette for mixing colors with Crayola Paint Brushes or a sponge. Air-dry the island.

7. Attach your island to its cardboard base with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry them.

8. Form the mountain. Turn a recycled plastic container upside down. Work upward from the base to shape the sides of the mountain with white Model Magic. If your mountain has ridges, crumple newspaper and cover it with Model Magic. Model Magic fresh from the pack sticks to itself simply by pressing it together. Shape your volcano’s crater by pressing down into top of the mountain. Air-dry your volcano at least 24 hours.

9. Paint the sides of the volcano to show the local terrain. Use sponges to give the surface interesting texture. Air-dry your mountain.

10. Let the lava flow! With more Model Magic, form the hot lava spewing out of the volcano’s crater. Often, some lava flows from side cracks as well as from the neck in the top. Shape molten lava into the inside of your crater, down the sides of the mountain, and running perhaps into the sea. Air-dry the lava 24 hours.

11. Paint the lava flow in its hottest colors. It the lava contains rocks or cinders, dot them into the paint. Air-dry your lava.

12. Glue the lava to the mountain to hold it firmly in place. Glue the volcano to its setting. Air-dry your construction before you display it. To help others understand your exhibit, label its parts or write a story to explain the type of eruption you depicted.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Recycled Containers—Must be clean and safe. Do not use containers that contained bleach or other harmful chemicals (for example, household cleaners, dishwasher or laundry detergents). Do not use recycled metal cans that have sharp edges (for example, lids removed by household can openers).

Recycled Foam Produce Trays—Wash in hot, soapy water. No meat or poultry trays should be used.

Sponges and Foam—Sponges, foam, and other expandable materials should not be used with children 3 years old and younger.


  • Figure out how the different types of eruptions create or alter varied shapes of mountains and landscape. Research the origins of the names of the different types of eruptions.
  • Write an imaginary journal about living near a volcano, either extinct or active. Pretend you are a scientist studying volcanoes or a forester managing woodlands, for example.
  • Look for clues to volcanic activity where you live. Can you find land formations from cooled lava? Evidence of burst gas bubbles? Pinnacles of ash? Empty craters?
  • Did you know that there are extinct volcanoes in many places where you might not expect them, such as France, Scotland, and Ireland? Which volcanoes are active? Find them on a map.
  • List the natural benefits to the Earth from volcanic eruptions, past and present. For example, materials brought up by eruptions formed most of the Earth’s seabed. What problems are caused by eruptions? Study other natural phenomena that often occur in combination or as a result of a volcanic eruption, such as earthquakes or tsunamis.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Paint Brushes
  • Artista II® Washable Tempera Paint
  • Model Magic®
  • No-Run School Glue
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • sponges
  • paper towels
  • cardboard
  • recycled foam produce trays
  • container(s) of water
  • recycled plastic containers



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students gather information to examine the natural dynamics of volcano eruptions.

  • Students identify five types of volcanic eruptions and their characteristics.

  • Students design and construct a 3-dimensional model of one type of eruption.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards