A Rainbow of Explosions
Using three very common household ingredients, things you most likely have in your pantry, you can create an explosion of rainbow colors that will wow the kids! The best part about this little kitchen science experiment is that children can be involved from beginning to end, all you need to do is show them how.
This is a great time to talk to older kids about the chemical reaction that takes place when baking soda, a bicarbonate, and vinegar, an acetic acid, are combined. When baking soda and vinegar come together, a gas is given off (carbon dioxide). The carbon dioxide is what creates the bubbling and fizzing. Any child who has seen the bubbles rise in a glass of soda has experienced a similar reaction of carbon dioxide!
In order to create these colorful explosions, you will need:
Rimmed baking sheet
You could do this project outside if you’re worried about mess, but using the rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels contains everything, so there are no spills! To get started, line your baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.
Place 6 plastic cups onto the sheet and add a few drops of food coloring to each cup.
Add two spoonfuls of baking soda to each cup.
You can vary your explosions to see how much vinegar is needed to contain the reaction inside the cup. For us, about ¼ cup of vinegar added to a cup caused bubbles to rise just up to the rim before settling back down again.
Adding ½ cup or more of vinegar caused the bubbles to fill the cup and overflow, pouring over the sides in a fun volcanic reaction!
After the bubbles subside and die back down, take your spoon and stir the contents of the cup. You should still have baking soda sitting at the bottom. You can continue to add vinegar, erupting your mini-volcanoes over and over again until the supply is gone.
Remember to use different colors in each cup to create that beautiful rainbow of explosions!
Experiment with pouring the vinegar in slowly or more rapidly to see if the reaction is different.
When the fun is over, simply lift the baking sheet and take it to the sink. Wring out your paper towels, sending your vinegar safely down the drain.
Amanda Formaro is a well-known craft expert and has been writing and crafting on the Internet for over fifteen years. Find out more on her blog, Crafts by Amanda, where she shares tutorials with step-by-step photos for adults and kids alike.