Friday, March 29, 2013

Preschool Chemistry: Fun with Vinegar and Baking Soda

For some early childhood professionals, the mention of the word "chemistry" or even "science" makes them cringe.  Some shy away from these types of explorations because of the fear they hold in regard to the subject.  Science really does not have to be scary.

 Through many of the training experiences I have provided, I have found that those who fear science can generally trace it back to the same common root cause.......... a former science teacher.  This is a HUGE deal to those of us who work with young children. It means that our interactions with children can have a major impact on how children approach various subjects. That is why it is CRUCIAL to offer them early exploration activities that are memorable, fun, and give them the opportunity to really explore!

Chemistry in our classroom usually consists of mixing things- most often vinegar and baking soda.  Today, I put out a few pans of baking soda, a couple of cut up straws, pipettes, turkey basters, and a couple of jars of colored vinegar.

At first, the children played with the straws- mostly dripping the vinegar down onto the baking soda... Then one child figured out how to put the straw into the baking soda....

 And then the fizzing climbed right up and out of the straw- GIGGLES, EXCITEMENT.... more straws sticking out of the baking soda- "It's a birthday cake!"

Then, the attention shifted to using pipettes and turkey basters- more vinegar = more fizzing!

and even more fizzing!

This reaction never seems to get old :). 
Did you know that you can cut your vinegar with water to make your supplies last longer? 

(I know that we go through gallons of vinegar- and using it at half strength does not impact the exploration and allows us to have twice as many!)

Do you allow children to experiment with vinegar and baking soda? We have provided various opportunities for different types of experiences with these two basic ingredients:

We color the vinegar and baking soda with primary colors then mix them for a fizzing explosion of secondary colors. You can read more about our color explorations here, More than Just Volcanoes.

We also like to experiment with the expansion that happens because of the chemical reaction. The gas collects in a beaker and causes a cork to go flying into the air when we work on "Blowing the Cork!"

We have also made exploding plastic bags or "baggie bombs" with the same reaction.  I cannot tell you how many times the children try this experiment, and it never seems to get old!

As an introduction to acids and bases- we did some magic painting on homemade litmus paper.

We also have tried a great recipe for Fizzing Sidewalk Paint.
I love it when we can mix art and science!

And, you cannot forget the original- most basic vinegar and baking soda experience-

Here are a few other ideas/posts from around the web:

Dissolving Rocks from Reading Confetti
Chocolate Eruptions from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Erupting Pumpkins from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Fizzing Bath Paint from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Glowing Science- Rainbow Eruptions from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Erupting Snow from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Fizzing Hidden Ocean World from Fun at Home with Kids
Erupting Volcano from Craft to Art
Scented Experiments from CAUTION! Twins at Play
Color Dancing and Easter from CAUTION! Twins at Play

Have you tried any of these experiments or have a different one to share? Please link up! I'll be featuring links on my Facebook page and on my Chemistry for Kids Pinterest Board!


Phyllis said...

From preschool to high school baking soda and vinegar never looses it's fascination!

Mary Catherine said...

Thanks so much for hosting such a FUN link up! I'm going to pin this post for future reference. We always have tons of fun with this combo.

Mary Catherine of Fun-A-Day!

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 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...