Making the most of the classic baking soda and vinegar reaction with this simple, fun, and very colorful STEM activity. Enjoy adding colored vinegar, observing the reactions, and even experimenting with mixing the bubbling colors. Read on to learn more about the materials required and the potential play and learning that can unfold.
What You Need:
- Learning Resources® Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set™
- Baking soda
- Food coloring
- Small containers (we used a paint pot rack)
- Large bin or tray (ours is just a dish bin from Dollar Tree)
To set up the materials, place a generous few scoops of baking soda into your bin. Add a small amount of vinegar to each small container and then stir in one drop of each food coloring color. Place the vinegar mixtures in the bin with the baking soda (this helps contain the mess). Add the Twisty Dropper™, Squeezy Tweezers™, and Gator Grabber Tweezers™ to the setup.
Time to Get Fizzing!
Before adding the vinegar to the baking soda, be sure to allow your child to explore the materials in front of them. Encourage them to touch the baking soda and smell the vinegar. Ask them to use their senses to describe what they are experiencing with each material. It can also be fun to hypothesize with your child. Depending on their age, you can phrase the question in more simple or more challenging ways. It could be as simple as asking what you think will happen if we mix the two materials, or it may be a little more complex with a question about why a specific reaction might occur. This encourages a sense of inquisitive thinking, as well as an opportunity to develop scientific vocabulary.
Now it’s the fun part- invite your child to add drops of the colorful vinegar to the baking soda. It is so much fun to watch their face light up as they see the colorful bubbles and hear the fizzing. Using the Twisty Dropper is fantastic for fine motor development as it works those bit hand muscles hard. It also allows for a decent amount of vinegar to be transferred each time.
Mix Those Colors!
After plenty of squirting, it can be really fun to use the setup to explore color mixing. What happens if we add one color to the baking soda and then squirt another color on top of it? Again, this is an excellent opportunity to hypothesize and develop vocabulary. My preschooler particularly enjoyed using the Squeezy Tweezers to scoop up sections of the colorful baking soda before squirting a different color on top to see the change happening up close. She also enjoyed dropping small amounts of the baking soda into the containers of colored vinegar to make them erupt like little volcanoes. So much sensory fun!
Once your child has finished playing with the setup, be sure to revisit your hypothesis. What did your child think would happen and what happened? What did they observe, and which senses did they use? Do they have any fun ideas for changing the experiment to get bigger reactions between the materials? Be open to lots of discussions and encourage your child to approach science experiments like this with a real sense of intrigue and exploration.