A Fun, Easy Toddler Activity That Mixes Art & Science

baking soda, vinegar, eruption, fizzing, science, toddler, preschooler, color, boredom buster
Got a budding scientist at home who likes to mix things together? (Usually things you don't want to be mixed?) Well, this simple activity is perfect for kids who love to experiment. It's simple, safe, and educational -- it introduces the concept of a chemical reaction to kids.


The "experiment" involves baking soda (an alkaline), which reacts with with acid (vinegar), to release carbon dioxide (a gas). But your kid doesn't need to know all that if they're not ready. The payoff for them? A fun fizzling reaction filled with color. (The hidden colors are revealed only after the surprising fizzling reaction takes place.)

What you'll need for this activity:

A large shallow tray or pan (we're using a cake pan here); eyedroppers or a spoon; liquid watercolors or diluted food coloring (a few drops of water added to each drop of food coloring); baking soda; vinegar; small dish to hold vinegar.

What to do:

1.  Add a thin layer of color to the bottom of your pan using either liquid watercolors or diluted food coloring. A small amount of space between the various colors will keep them from running together.

2.  By hand, sprinkle a light amount of baking soda over the layer of color on the bottom of the pan.  Add just enough that the color isn't showing through.

3.  Provide your child with the baking soda pan, an eyedropper or spoon, and a small container of vinegar.  Have them add vinegar by the spoonful or eyedropperful to different areas of the pan.  As the baking soda and vinegar react, they'll produce bubbles of carbon dioxide gas.  The color in the pan will make the bubbling eruptions colored!

4.  Once your child has added small amounts of vinegar to the whole pan, they can pour the remaining vinegar over the pan. There will be some baking soda that hasn't fizzled left, and by adding lots of vinegar ... KAPOW! .... all at once will cause a large reaction of colored bubbles.

baking soda, vinegar, eruption, fizzing, science, toddler, preschooler, color, boredom buster

5.  All of the parts of this solution are safe to touch. The fizzling reaction will only work once. Once all the baking soda has been "activated," with vinegar, you won't be able to make any more bubbles. (The leftovers can safely be rinsed down the sink with water.)

Who knows, your kid may love it so much, she'll grow up to be a scientist!


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