Rainy Day Activity #1: Fizzing Fun

Look at all the pretty colors! And that bubbling. Could anything be more fun?

Raine is on sem break this week (a preschooler with a sem break!) the weather has been rather dismal, and the girls have been antsy. So I decided to try out the most fun of kiddie science experiments: the magic mix of baking soda and vinegar.

And what can be more fun than baking soda and vinegar? Baking soda and colored vinegar! So this activity kept them entertained longer than I expected because they had a blast coloring the vinegar before the main event. Then after, they used the gunk to make paintings. And tomorrow, when their paintings are dry, we’ll try to drop more vinegar on it to see if it will still fizz. That’s a lot of fun with just three simple ingredients you’re most likely to have on hand. And after, we just poured the gunk down the sink—instant drain cleaner too!

Materials needed:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Food color—optional optional—but it’s a lot more fun with colors
  • Ice cube tray, or other compartmentalized container to put vinegar in. Small bowls would work too.
  • Containers for the baking soda—I wanted to use a muffin pan, since that would allow more colors, but I wasn’t too sure how the metal will react. Does anyone know?
  • Droppers—you could also use syringes, straws, small spoons
  • Aprons, just to make sure the food color doesn’t stain the clothes (not too many stains, at least)

What to do:

  1. Pour small amounts of vinegar in the compartments or containers. Put small amounts of baking soda in separate containers.
  2. Add drops of food coloring to the vinegar. I would advise against using your fingers to mix. It’s difficult to get off. Trust me.
  3. Using the droppers, put a few drops of the vinegar on the baking soda. Watch it fizz and bubble! The girls tried making pictures too. At least Raine did. Breeze was happy just putting the vinegar.
  4. After you could try using the gunk for finger paints, or you could use paintbrushes. After they had mixed and stained their fingers with the colored vinegar, I should have just let them finger paint, but we decided to use brushes, to be more civilized.

Learning is fun!

  • Learn color mixing: red and yellow make orange and all that. Raine knows which colors make what, but she still gets a kick actually making them. She teaches Breeze too.
  • Learn cooperation and sharing. “Want to trade the yellow bottle for the red?” “OK.”—that was the most agreeable the girls were the entire morning. My little moments of peace.
  • Learn science: baking soda is a base, vinegar is an acid. When you mix them, there’s a chemical reaction. That means that they change, and they aren’t the same things anymore. It becomes carbon dioxide, which is why there are bubbles, and a salt (“Can I taste the salt, Mommy?”—I guess this part went over their heads.).
Here are more pictures of our experiment:

Coloring the vinegar was part of the fun. And it also helps develop fine motor skills.


More fine motor skills at work: using the dropper.


The fun doesn't end when the soda and vinegar are all mixed up. You can still paint after (if you don't mind the gunky color).


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