We play with baking soda and vinegar so much that sometimes its a stretch to find new ways of exploring this early science principle. I put together this activity for LittleMan and our neighbor’s daughter recently and it was just such a hit.
First I started with a tray of clear shot glasses and two pitchers of clear liquid.
I sat in front of the children pouring from one pitcher into half of the cups, then pouring from the other pitcher to fill the rest of the cups.
I then took out three bottles of food coloring: red, blue, and yellow. I randomly added a drop of food coloring to each cup and swished it to mix.
Then I gave the children a bowl of baking soda and spoons.
The first thing the children did was scoop baking soda and dump it into the various cups.
They were surprised to see that not all cups reacted to the baking soda.
They were expecting all the cups to be filled with vinegar and were surprised (but not disappointed) to realize that some only had water.
After every cup had been tested to see if it was vinegar or water (some cups where admittedly test two or three times), I then quietly took two cups and poured a bit of liquid back and forth between them, wordlessly demonstrating the color mixing process.
The children watched, wide eyed despite having experimented with color mixing many times before. They had never mixed color in this way and were both eager to try it.
After a while the children began to dump the cups out and start fresh by pouring left over liquid from the pitchers into the cups they’d just emptied.
Eventually all the liquid and baking soda was dumped onto the tray and turned into a hands-on sensory experience. (Sorry, no photos of this portion of the activity, suffice it to say there was a HUGE MESS.)
My only regret about the entire afternoon was that I didn’t think to do this on concrete as the vinegar did cause some dead grass under where the tray was spilled. That said, the brown spot on our lawn is worth the fun and learning they had.by