Young learners love to explore the wonders and surprises of science! Bring the spirit of October to life with this fun and engaging science experiment: Exploding Pumpkins! Kids of all ages will love to “dig deep” and watch the chemical reaction unfold right before their eyes. But don’t blink, because you just might miss it!
This experiment requires a few simple ingredients that you most likely already have a home. It’s easy to set up and clean-up, which makes it mom and teacher approved!
You’ll want to gather the supplies below before getting started.
- A small pumpkin
- A spoon and a carving tool
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Food coloring
- Learning Resources Primary Science Jumbo Eyedroppers
- Tray or plastic container
First, add food coloring to the vinegar. Here I added about 10 drops, but you can adjust it as you see fit to obtain the desired color. Give it a mix and place it off to the side for now.
Next, carve the top portion of your pumpkin off. Before removing the seeds, this would be the perfect opportunity to pause and have your little learners use their senses to smell and touch the pumpkin pulp, strands and seeds. After, use a spoon to carve out the gooey middle. Be sure to scrape the strands off the edges. You can even bake the seeds as a tasty after science treat!
Assemble the pumpkin, eye droppers, and vinegar on a tray. This will prevent excess spillage on any unwanted surfaces. Sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of the pumpkin. About ¼ cup of baking soda will be plenty for a small pumpkin. If you plan to use a larger pumpkin, consider using ½ cup to 1 cup of baking soda instead.
Have the littles make a prediction for what they think will happen once you add the two ingredients together. Use the eye droppers to transfer a few drops of the vinegar into the pumpkin. After, take some time to observe the chemical reaction. What do they hear, see, smell, etc is happening. Does it happen right away or after some time? They can record it in a “science notebook” and draw what they see and notice.
After using the eye droppers, make a “splash” with a large chemical reaction! Pour the remaining vinegar into the pumpkin and watch the results unfold! It will be tremendous fun. Consider filming their reaction so you can rewatch it again and again!
Don’t be afraid to pour the vinegar into the pumpkin quickly for best results. Also, consider choosing a food coloring color with enough of a contrast to the color of your pumpkin and tray.
The foam from the chemical reaction won’t last long so soak up all of the excitement while you can! This is the perfect way to ignite a love of learning and passion for science in your little learners. The Exploding Pumpkins experiment can even be adapted to fit other thematic seasons and holidays. You can even opt to use a plastic pumpkin, cauldron, etc.