“When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree” Lemon Volcanoes

"When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree" book next to lemon volcanoes sitting in a sudsy rainbow

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A Meaningful Book & Lemon Volcanoes!

After reading Jamie L. B. Deenihan’s “When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree” we tried out her Classic Lemonade recipe & then made Lemon Volcanoes! I can’t wait to share this awesome bookish play with you! So, let’s get started…

Summary of “When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree”

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree” by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & Illustrated by Lorraine Rocha, is a meaningful book about a little girl hoping to get a bunch of modern electronics for her birthday. When her Grandma gives her a lemon tree instead, the book comically shows what to do when you’re a kid disappointed by a gift. To summarize…be polite and “Don’t play ding dong ditch the lemon tree”, lol.

Next, the story shows how to take care of a lemon tree; with precious illustrations. If you’re paying close attention to the details, you might notice that the other kids shown throughout the story are all preoccupied with the same electronics she had wished for. I love the message this book expresses, watching the progression of the main character (and her neighborhood friends) realizing screen-free play can be wonderful too! 🙂

We would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. I borrowed this book from the library but love it so much, I bought it!

Lemon Volcanoes?

You might be wondering… “What do you do with it?” or “How is this not just going to be a sensory mess?” There are many ways to answer these two common questions…

lemon volcanoes with bright colors

First, the most basic answer to “What you could do with Lemon Volcanoes?” is… have Messy Fun. Sensory play at its finest is not about “doing” something specific. It is about exploring, feeling, listening, watching, problem solving, creating, etc… This is an open-ended activity. Just as each child has their own unique personality, experience, and preference in play, the outcome of this activity is just as special.

As for the second question, Yes, this is a messy one! But, I hear you. I’ve been asked that question many times. Therefore, a detailed answer, along with strategies for successful messy sensory play, can be found by reading, “What about the Sensory Mess?”

What We Did with Lemon Volcanoes…

hands squeezing lemons on a juicer to make lemonade

We tend to keep the activities as simple as possible around here. We’re not interested in complicated or costly. We are also all about fostering independence. So, for this activity my daughter couldn’t wait to make homemade lemonade; by following the simple directions in the middle of the story. She cut the lemons, squeezed them on the juicer as hard as she could, then asked for assistance.

hand pouring sugar into the pitcher of homemade lemonade.

Next, she measured and added the water and sugar. We like things sweet around here, so we added at least double if not three times the amount of sugar recommended. :O She even added a slice of lemon & a straw to make it “official”, lol.

Then, we sat back and relaxed for a bit, chatting about nothing in particular, enjoying a summers day.

Time for our Volcanoes to be made…

Once we were all sugared up lol, we used the same hollowed out lemons to make our Lemon Volcanoes. I was inspired to make them after seeing @the_owen_chronicles gorgeous photo on Instagram (click the link to see it).

hand pouring baking soda into blue lemon volcano

My daughter added a squirt of dish soap and a few drops of food coloring to each lemon half. Next, she squished the lemons to help the color and dish soap disperse to color the entire inside of the lemon. After that, she scooped some baking soda into each lemon.

To activate the volcanoes you don’t technically need vinegar if… 1. you are patient and 2. didn’t do such a good job squeezing all the juice from the lemons during the lemonade making process, lol.

squeeze bottle pouring vinegar into pink lemon volcano

So, we got another lemon, cut it in 1/2 and squeezed that onto our lemon volcanoes. It did work, but we wanted the WOW factor that we’re used to with vinegar. Therefore, we used vinegar. We tried squeezing it from a dropper; again too slow of a reaction.

purple fizzing lemon volcano

Then, we tried the small squeeze bottles I had picked up in the dollar store. If the squeeze bottle was big and held more I think the fun would have been over too fast. So the small ones were just the right size. Fun fact: you don’t have to open the squeeze bottles and pour the vinegar in over and over again, if you have the vinegar in a bowl we just used the squeeze bottle like the dropper…squeeze, dunk in vinegar, release, and its filled!

hands in try of sudsy rainbow fizz from lemon volcanoes.

That’s really all there is to it, like I said, its open ended. We continued to play with them, watching the bubbly & colorful fizzing overflow from each lemon volcano. My daughter loved the feel of the foamy rainbow it made on the tray. I loved the smell of lemons.

It was a lot of fun and I would suggest making Lemon Volcanoes if you’re looking for a cheerful & exciting activity to connect with your child.

Materials We Used

  1. “When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree” by Jamie L. B. Deenihan (from the library or buy it here)
  2. Lemons
  3. Knife
  4. Juicer
  5. Dish soap
  6. Food coloring
  7. Baking soda
  8. Vinegar
  9. Dropper/small squeeze bottle
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

How to Make Lemon Volcanoes

  1. Cut the ends off of each lemon (so that they will stand up).
  2. Cut the lemons in half.
  3. Juice the lemons a bit (leaving some juice to help the eruption).
  4. Add a squirt (about 1 tsp) of dish soap to each lemon half.
  5. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring to each lemon half.
  6. Squish the lemon half to disperse the dish soap and coloring (may stain hands).
  7. Add 1 Tbsp of baking soda to each lemon half.
    If your lemons were juicy you are probably already seeing some fizzing. If not or if you want more of a reaction…
  8. Fill a small squeeze bottle with vinegar.
  9. Have more vinegar in a bowl nearby to refill the small squeeze bottle many times.
  10. Enjoy squeezing the vinegar onto the lemon volcanoes and watching the colorful, fizzing, bubbly eruptions!
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

As a Thank You for subscribing; this is a special FREEBIE for our Email Subscribers Only. 🙂 Click here if you’ve already subscribed. Otherwise, Sign Up below to get the password & access to our entire FREE Printables Library today! 😉

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