Did you know you can teach your kids simple science with household ingredients? With baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and food coloring, you can introduce your kids to fizzing fun as they learn about chemical reactions.
Not only will they learn about how baking soda and vinegar react with each other, but you can introduce new concepts and vocabulary. Aside from the educational benefits, baking soda experiments are messy and fun.
What Makes Baking Soda Fizz?
Most baking soda experiments use vinegar or lemon juice. This is because the sodium bicarbonate in baking soda reacts with the mild acetic acid in vinegar and the citric acid in lemon juice.
The fizz is actually created by two reactions. The first is an acid-based reaction where the hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with sodium and the bicarbonate ions in the baking soda. This forms carbonic acid and sodium acetate.
The second part of the fizzing action is decomposing carbonic acid into water and carbon dioxide gas. Like the bubbles in fizzy carbonated drinks, the carbon dioxide bubbles cause fizzing in the baking soda and vinegar experiment.
Science Experiments with Baking Soda
Baking soda and water don’t produce the same effects as baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice. Luckily, both ingredients can be found in your pantry and are easy to get from the store.
To add an extra element of fun to your baking soda experiments, use food coloring, toys, scoops, and pipettes.
1. Glitter Explosion
A glitter explosion is a fun take on a classic baking soda science experiment.
Add two tablespoons of baking soda to a glass jar with a generous amount of glitter and a squirt of dish soap. Mix everything together until well combined.
Now for the fun part. Your child can use a pipette, spoon, or a small jug to slowly add vinegar to the mixture in the jar.
The vinegar and baking soda will react, causing a bubbly, fizzy, glittery eruption from the top of the jar. This is similar to the classic volcano science experiment.
- Glass jar
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
Use this glitter explosion activity in small-world play. Create a mixture in jars that you can dot around a sensory bin. Add food coloring to each jar with fun glitter elements. You can use these glitter jars for different themed sensory bins.
2. Frozen Baking Soda Dough
For this baking soda experiment, mix a little water with baking soda until it forms a dough. Add the water slowly until you get the right consistency.
Once you are happy with your dough, add the color and glitter of your choice and press it into one of the containers. Leave the containers in the freezer overnight.
The frozen dough will have an interesting texture as it begins to thaw, which your kids will enjoy.
- Baking soda
- Food coloring
- Different sizes and shapes of containers
Let them play and explore for a few minutes before giving them pipettes/syringes and a bowl of vinegar. Let them add vinegar to the frozen dough and watch as it bubbles and fizzes.
3. Electric Eels
Snacking on gummy worms while watching them jump around a glass will amuse your kids.
Cut each gummy worm into 4 pieces and then soak them in a glass of water and baking soda for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour vinegar into another glass and add the worms one at a time.
The worms should move and wiggle around the glass.
- 4-6 gummy worms
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
Include this activity in a bug sensory bin or put it in a tub with water beads and pond critters.
4. Fizzy Sand
This simple mix of ingredients will keep your kids busy for hours.
Mix Kool-aid and baking soda and place them in a tray. It is ideal for fine motor skills development as your children use spoons and scoops to play with the sand mix.
The fact that they can add vinegar with pipettes will only add to the magic of this fizzy sand.
- Baking soda
Use the “sand” mix as the base for a dinosaur or underwater sensory bin. Let your kids play with the sand first and when they start to lose interest, give them vinegar.
5. Stalagmites and Stalactites
This baking soda experiment takes time and patience but is pretty magical.
Add warm water to two glass jars and add baking soda until no more will dissolve. Tie wool onto safety pins and place each one in a jar. The wool will soak up the solution, and as the water dissolves, the baking soda creates stalactites.
- Baking Soda
- Safety Pins
- 2 Glass jars
- Wool Yarn
Pair this prehistoric activity with a baking soda dino egg. Simply make baking soda dough and pack it around a dinosaur before freezing it. Then your kids can dissolve the egg in vinegar to reveal the dinosaur.
6. Invisible Ink
This is a fun chemical reaction that will amaze your kids.
Add 5 tablespoons of baking soda to a glass of water and mix. Next, dip your Q-tip into the solution and write your message or create a picture. Once it has dried, use a paintbrush and the grape concentrate to reveal your message.
- Grape juice concentrate
- Baking soda
If you are teaching your child the alphabet, write the letters on index cards and let your child reveal and identify each one.
7. Hot Ice
This chemical reaction looks like magic, and your kids will be amazed as they feel the “ice” that is actually hot.
By boiling baking soda and vinegar, you create a concentrated substance that allows you to build an ice tower like magic.
- 4 cups of white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons of baking soda
- A pot
- A heatproof glass measuring cup
- A dish
- A spoon
Scrape some of the residue from the pot onto a wooden skewer and place it in a glass jar filled with the solution and watch as it grows and solidifies.
8. Melting Apples
Combine the baking soda, water, food coloring, and water to form a dough. Mold the dough into balls and use the pipe cleaner to create stems.
Once you have made your “apples,” let your kids spray them with vinegar and watch as they dissolve.
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 Tablespoon food coloring
- 3 squirts of liquid soap
- Pipe cleaners
This is a cool activity to use with apple stamping and making apple pies when learning about the letter ”A”.
9. Baking Soda Exploration
This baking soda and vinegar experiment is a great open-ended exploration that allows your kids to get curious about the fizzy reaction.
Using pipettes also helps them develop fine motor and pre-writing skills. Cover a tray in baking soda and make colored vinegar jars for them to experiment with.
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Pipettes (optional)
- Liquid watercolors or food coloring
Only give your children the primary colors and allow them to explore color mixing with this fun, fizzy medium.
10. Baking Soda Bubbles
This baking soda and vinegar experiment is a simple way for your kids to see the effects of carbon dioxide gas released from the chemical reaction.
Using the funnel, add the baking soda to the bottle. Next, mix the water and dishwashing liquid together and soak the washcloth. Then, wring out the excess liquid and place the cloth over the top of the plastic bottle.
Lift the cloth and pour vinegar inside before replacing it over the bottle. The carbon dioxide gas will cause bubbles to form on the cloth.
- Plastic bottle
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons dishwashing liquid
- 1 Cup water
- 1/4 Cup vinegar
Add watercolor paint to the water and soap mix to create colored bubbles. Use a piece of paper to make prints from the bubbles as they form by pressing the paper to the bubbles.
11. Magic Colors
You can create a color surprise for your kids by layering your baking soda.
Mix some food coloring and baking soda in a muffin tray. Cover the colored baking soda with a layer of white baking soda.
That way, when your kids add the vinegar, the colors revealed will be a surprise.
- Muffin tin
- Baking soda
- Turkey baster/spoon
- Food coloring
Use this experiment as an indoor scavenger hunt. Once your kids have revealed a color, they have to try and find something in the house that matches.
Using Household Ingredients for Fizzy Science Fun
Baking soda and vinegar are great ingredients to use when you are looking for spontaneous activity.
Not only will fun experiments keep your kids engaged, but they will also be learning. These easy activities are worth a try if you are looking for no-fuss fun options for your children.