Fizzy Rainbow Science Project sounds awfully official for something that basically involves pouring food colored vinegar into a tray of baking soda, but I couldn’t come up with another name for it.
After several weeks of oddly springlike weather, we’re staring down the barrel of a drizzly, snowy, weekend with absolutely nothing planned. Which means my children will spend the next forty eight hours systematically destroying the house while intermittently begging for iPad time.
Its at times like this that I did into my arsenal of simple household “science projects.” Its truly amazing how much fun little kids can have with little more than a box of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. We’ve found so many ways combine these magical ingredients to create “potions,” bath paints and other nifty concoctions to keep them busy.
Fizzy Rainbow Science is probably my favorite for three reasons: its incredibly simple to set up, the mess stays (mostly) contained, and its super colorful and fun. It really is fun! This is as much of an art project as it is science. The kids absolutely love watching the colors combine and interact with the baking soda.
Encourage them to start by dropping a small amount of each color onto various spots on the baking soda. As they add more and more, the colors will swirl and fizz together.
If you feel like making this a teaching moment, you can review some basic information about how acids and bases interact. Or you can just sit back, watch them marvel at how the colors swirl and enjoy the moment.
So, go hide the iPad and lets get started, shall we? For each child participating you’ll need:
- An empty muffin tin or several small bowls or ramekins
- A clean rimmed baking sheet or cake pan
- 1 or 2 cups of baking soda
- 1 or 2 cups of plain household vinegar
- Food coloring
- Small spoons (or “pipette” medicine droppers if you want to get fancy)
- Pour a small amount of vinegar into each bowl or well of the muffin tin. Add a few drops of food coloring to each and mix.
- Pour an even layer of baking soda into the bottom of the baking dish. There should be enough baking soda to cover the bottom completely.
- Use small spoons or pipettes to drizzle small amounts of the colored vinegar onto the baking soda. Marvel at the interactions.
- When finished, simply rinse the mixture down the drain. It’ll clean your kitchen sink while you’re at it.