Thursday, September 27, 2012

Baking soda and vinegar trays

The boys both have colds this week, so being cooped up to avoid sharing their illness has left them a little bit squirrely. Fortunately, I've had a rainy-day project tucked away in the back of my mind for a while, and today was the perfect day to pull it out.

(Thank you, Pinterest, for the inspiration! If anyone knows the original source of the pinned image, please do let me know so that I can credit the owner properly.)


Food dye
Baking soda
Baking pans
Medicine droppers


I gave each boy three re-purposed applesauce cups filled with food-dyed vinegar, a tray filled with half a box of baking soda, and a medicine dropper. A muffin tin is another option for holding the coloured vinegar.

Fill up dropper with vinegar and squirt it into the tray! Simple yet fascinating.

After watching the initial fizzes several times, the boy moved on to experimenting. He put the dropper underneath the baking soda before squirting the vinegar out. He built little baking soda volcanoes and squirted the vinegar inside ("It runs down the sides just like a real volcano!") He mixed colours, made rainbows, squirted vinegar on top of already wet areas, and more.

The biggest challenge for them was figuring out how to use the droppers most efficiently and effectively. The toddler never did quite get the hang of filling it up well, but it was great fine-motor practice anyway. Fortunately, big brother was happy to help (and Mommy helped too, of course!).

Then again, if all else fails, just pour it in directly!

Naturally, it didn't take long for the fingers to start poking around in there, touching, mixing, and squeezing the mixture. This made it an excellent sensory experience in addition to the scientific observation of watching the vinegar interact with the baking soda.

He was impressed with how hard and crumbly it got once it was full of vinegar.

A definite success! The boys played with the trays for a full hour and would have played longer had we not had to stop for something else. Clean up was quick and easy!


Science: Observation, description, sensorial experience
Fine arts: Visual arts (creativity, artistic design)

1 comment:

  1. We did the exact same thing that week! One word of caution for anyone else who may undertake this project - if you have kids who are inclined to take the physical experimentation outside of the tray and onto your tabletop, make sure you have a vinyl tablecloth to protect your wood table. Turns out vast quantities of baking soda are really good at stripping off wood finishes.. :)