If you were to google baking soda and vinegar the majority of your search would be filled with volcanoes.  Which is one of my favourite activities to do, I have done it so many times as a nanny and while working onboard the Disney Cruise Line. During my Norland training I was sent to stay with a family for two weeks and this was one of the activities I did. It was such a success that we actually managed to stain the brand new patio!  Anyway, this activity IS NOT a volcano one, but it does use those two key ingredients: baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and vinegar.

This activity did take a little bit of prep time and depending on the mess the little ones make, can require some cleaning up.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Silicone moulds
  • Plastic container
  • Vinegar
  • Food Colouring
  • Dish soap

Mix your baking soda with some food colouring and a little bit of water to create a paste.  I made 8 separate batches for each colourer I used.  I probably used maybe 3 tbsp of baking powder per batch and then experimented with how much water I added.

Put your baking soda into your silicone moulds and place in the freezer over night.

When it’s time to do your science/sensory play add the vinegar to your plastic container; you want to have it covering the whole base of the container, but you don’t want it to completely cover the baking soda shapes.

Add some soap to the vinegar and give it a mix.

Then get your little one to add the frozen shapes.

Getting ready to add her shapes

Getting ready to add her shapes

Watching the shapes fizz and create their coloured foam is mesmerising and all 3 little ones doing this loved it.  I also gave them a condiment container full of vinegar so that they could pour it over their shapes.  It was fascinating to see that the colours didn’t actually mix with each other until the little ones put their hands into the mix.  It didn’t take long for them to get stuck in with their hands and play around.  They smooshed up the final parts of their shapes and then spent a while mixing it all together, before they started turning their containers into wave machines.

My only word of warning is please be careful about splashes to the eyes.  YC got slightly over excited and ended up with some of the vinegar solution in her eye, which of course was very painful.  If that does happen make sure you rinse it out thoroughly with water and if it seems to be really irritating them have it checked out by a doctor, thankfully we didn’t need to do that as the eye bath got rid of it all.

This activity may help development of:

  • Understanding of how chemical reactions occur.
  • Sensory development – through smell, touch and sound
  • Colours – watching the colours mix together
  • Vocabulary  – we introduced new words like dissolved