Monday, August 13, 2012

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 79: Vinegar-Baking Soda Color Explosion

Holy cow! We had so much fun with our "Vinegar-Baking Soda Color Explosion" activity! You have got to try this.

I stumbled across the idea on Pinterest (here's a link to that original post). I had to test it out! If you don't have everything you need on hand, make a trip down the baking aisle at your super market. They recommended using a dropper. I don't have one, but I had some nearly-empty acrylic paint squeeze bottles that I cleaned out. You can also probably clean out some miniature shampoo bottles, if you hang onto those from hotels. If all else fails, you can probably just keep the colored vinegar in separate bowls and give your toddler a spoon to spoon it out. I imagine that method would get pretty messy, though.

Here's what you need:

A baking pan or a large piece of tupperware
Squeeze bottles or a dropper
Baking soda (approximately $1)
Vinegar (less than $1) or lemon juice
Food coloring ($5)

Make sure you prep your play area well, as these colors stain.  If the weather's nice, consider doing the activity outside.  If your kid is pretty young and/or messy, maybe have him or her do this activity in an empty splash pool.

If you're using squeeze bottles, simply fill each bottle with vinegar.  Add about 4 drops of dye to each bottle (one color per bottle).  Close the lid tightly, and shake the bottle gently to mix.  If you're using another method (like a dropper), mix about a quarter cup of vinegar with a few drops of food dye in a bowl.  Repeat for each color.

Coat the bottom of your baking dish with baking soda.  Then, show your toddler how to gently squeeze the bottles of dyed vinegar onto the baking soda.  The acid-base reaction from the vinegar and baking soda will cause a reaction--a foam reaction!

Happily, this activity kept Oliver occupied until all the vinegar was gone, about twenty minutes.  Afterwards, he kept asking to do it again.  A few hours later, we found ourselves back at the table, squeezing more dyed vinegar onto baking soda.

I took a video of him playing and having fun:


We had everything we needed on hand, so we didn't have to spend any money to make this fun happen.  It was messy, and I had to be quick to clean up the splashes to avoid stains. Oliver has some red spots on his face that will take a while to wash out. While there are a few set backs to this activity, the fun we had more than made up for it.  I give this an A grade.


Erin O. said...

I found your blog through Pinterest, and I love all your activities for toddlers. I love how you give them grades too! I can't wait to try a bunch of these with my little one. Thanks!

Andrea said...

I think your use of the bottles was better than the Pinterest idea of using the dropper. I tried it with the dropper a while ago, and my toddler couldn't figure out how to get it to work. Maybe the dropper works well with an older child...? Anyway, I like your variation and might give it another try your way.

*kirstin* said...

I had the same problem as Andrea with the dropper. My toddler ended up taking the bowls I had with the colored vinegar and just dumping them in the baking pan. She still had fun with it. I'll have to give it a try with your variation as well.

Melissa M. said...

Ive tried this using a squeeze bottle that I use when decorating sugar cookies. It worked very well!

Anonymous said...

We tried this today, and it was brilliant!! My toddler (age 3) used the milk formula scoops that we have for her baby sisters milk to drop the vinegar into the tray, as teaspoons just weren't working. We only stopped when we ran out of baking soda!!

Anonymous said...

My toddler (23 months) loved this. We used mustard & ketchup squeeze bottles I bought at the dollar store. Thanks for the fun idea. Thanks for the idea.