Erupting Feelings and Lesson Ideas

It’s fall and pumpkin spice is all around us! So why not add a little pumpkin to our lesson feelings.

Pumpkin Volcano

Making a pumpkin volcano is easy as 1-2-3.

1) Simply scoop out the middle of pumpkin.
I used a small pie pumpkin. Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on
2) Next fill with baking soda.
3) Pour in vinegar and watch the magic happen.

Lessons to partner with pumpkin volcanos:

1. Flipping your lid

My favorite lessons with kids have been about the brain, mindfulness, and the mind body connection. I particularly love and always use the MindUp curriculum and The Responsive Counselor’s “Flipping Your Lid” lesson.

You can use the volcano as a hook or during the lesson to really give the kids a chance to visualize the idea of “flipping your lid.”

I pour in baking soda and give them examples of things that might already have us slightly on edge or “full.” For example, our parents are divorcing, a grandparent is sick, or we miss our pet when we are at school. You also pre pour in the baking soda and use these examples as you pour in vinegar to share out we feel like are in “danger,” but really we are not.

Then as I pour in the vinegar we talk about things that might trigger our amygdala. For example, a hard test or someone making fun of us.

Then we watch and talk about how the bubbles and eruption is like our brain flipping our lid. We need to do something to calm our brain down again.

2. Self Regulation and the body

The pumpkin volcano is a great visual to talk about how any feeling can have an effect on our body. Sometimes feelings of excitement over come our body and we get to wild, talkative, or “out of control.” Yes we are soooo excited to be making pumpkin volcanos and that is great, but we can’t let our amygdala take over.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on
3. Zones of regulation

The more baking soda and vinegar you add the bigger the eruption. So get yourself 4 little pumpkins and fill them each with a different level of baking soda. Then pour in the vinegar and talk ask students to observe the different reactions.

Compare and relate this to the zones of regulation.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on
Photo by Nick Bondarev on
4. My mouth is a volcano

Want to help an individual or small group control their blurting? This is a great hook into a lesson on blurting and self management.

Photo by Max Fischer on
5. Consequences

Remember the classic lesson on squeezing out all the toothpaste and then trying to get it back in the tube?

This is a fun fall twist. Once the vinegar has bubbled over it’s hard to get back into the pumpkin. Similar to when we get angry and say words we don’t mean or act without thinking of the consequences.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s