Toddlers and preschoolers will love this classic baking soda and vinegar experiment. They’ll ooh and ahh over the colourful chemical reactions they’ll create with just 3 kitchen ingredients!
A baking soda and vinegar experiment is one of those classic science experiments that always fascinates. It’s perfect for the classroom or for a day at home when your kids are bored.
Your children will love the colourful, bubbling eruptions that result when baking soda and vinegar are combined.
This experiment is easy and inexpensive to set up so you can do it over and over, whenever you need a quick and easy activity to entertain your kids.
In addition to being fun and entertaining, this activity is educational too. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss colour, colour mixing and chemical reactions.
To do our colourful baking soda and vinegar experiment, you’ll need:
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- box of baking soda (also known as bicarb soda)
- small bowl of white vinegar
- medicine dropper (also known as a pipette)
- food colouring or liquid watercolours
- baking sheet or a messy craft mat
We did several science activities yesterday, and according to the hooligan you see in the photo above, this was the best “spare-a-mint” of the day.
I’m guessing it’s because it had the goopiest results for her to dig her hands into. This little one just loves getting messy when she plays.
We began by sprinkling baking soda all over the baking sheet. Then we shook the baking sheet back and forth to evenly distribute the baking soda.
Next, using food colouring and liquid watercolours, we squeezed drops of colour all over the baking soda.
And now for the fun part:
A drop of vinegar dripped on top of a drop food colouring.
FIZZ, FIZZ, BUBBLE, BUBBLE!
I wish I’d snapped a picture of her face when the first eruption took place. Her expression was one of pure delight and amazement.
Then she began dripping vinegar onto all of the colours on the tray, watching and listening to each one bubble and fizz.
Using a dropper is great for helping to develop fine-motor skills, pencil grasp and co-ordination.
At one point, I gave her a spray bottle of vinegar so she could spray the baking soda as well.
A spray bottle is great for strengthening muscles and co-ordination in little hands. It was a lot of fun to use but we found that the dropper gave us a more intense reaction.
As the colours erupt on the baking sheet, you can explain why baking soda and vinegar react the way they do when combined.
We also discussed primary and secondary colours. I would say “Look! We have purple happening here! Which two colours mixed together to make purple?”
She dripped and she dropped until the tray was a collage of colourful craters.
And then, as I suspected she put down her dropper, and sunk her hands into the results of our experiment.
What a lovely way to finish up the activity, sliding and swishing her hands through a soft and soupy rainbow of colour.
I hope you’ll try this baking soda and vinegar experiment with your kids or students!
And stay tuned… I’ll be sharing more of yesterday’s science activities throughout the week.
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Great activity! I have tried this with my preschoolers and it keeps them fully engaged for long periods of time.
Love your photos 🙂
This may be a silly question, but do you mix the food colouring with water, or just drop on pure food colouring?
We used ours full-strength, Sasha.
There is one sentence that looks like it might have been the victim of an incomplete edit. “A drop of vinegar dripped on top one of a drop food colouring”
Can I use red vinegar instead of white vinegar?
I imagine it would work, Alina. Sprinkle a little baking soda on a plate and drip some red vinegar on it. If it fizzes, you’re good to go.
Hi! I am planning on doing this with my preschoolers too but just wondering what the clean up process is?
Did you throw the baking soda in the garbage after?
I pour it down the drain Camille. Baking soda and vinegar are commonly used to flush kitchen drains.