When I was young, no volcano explosion would be complete without some baking soda and vinegar. No matter what age your children are this is a fun, experimental, educational and easy to clean up experiment that even the smallest of hands can help with.
My 2 year old wasn’t able to do a lot of the experiment itself but loved even setting it all up with the cups and teaspoons. Her reaction was priceless when they ‘exploded’ with coloured bubbles. So below is a very easy baking soda and vinegar experiment with a slight twist.
- 4 Plastic Cups (clear ones work a treat and you can see the whole process)
- 4 teapsoons
- 4 different colours of food colouring
- Baking Soda
- Baking tray or similar for the cups to sit in and catch any spills
- Set up a nice, spacious area free from any precious items in case the food colouring gets messy.
- Get the kids to help you set out the plastic cups into the baking tray and 4 teaspoons next to them. (Best to have everything in arm’s reach)
- In each teaspoon place a drop or two of food colouring (a different colour for each spoon)
- Have vinegar ready in each cup (roughly 2/3 fill)
- Put roughly a teaspoon of baking soda onto each spoon on top of the colouring
- Now one at a time, drop the teaspoon contents into the cups and watch the magic take place.
The addition of food colouring just gives it that extra ‘magic’. Experiment a bit too by adding more vinegar or baking soda in a new batch or mixing up colours. They will love getting a bit messy but that’s what it’s all about – just wash it down the driveway afterwards
Teaching your kids some science
An experiment like this is a lovely way to introduce some basic scientific concepts to your kids. Here are some of the principles that you can share with them:
- The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid which is very unstable, it instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, which creates all the fizzing as it escapes the solution.
- This is also what makes cakes and quick breads (the no yeast kind) get all nice and fluffy