Fizzy Potions Experiment
Sometimes the simplest activities are the ones kids love the most! Turn the tried-and-true baking soda and vinegar experiment into a Halloween-themed activity with a little imagination.
Or, if you happen to have a couple of test tubes (like the ones that come in the first month of Science Expeditions) or glass beakers on hand, you could turn this into a “mad scientist” activity! Just be sure to watch your ratio of baking soda to vinegar if you downsize your cup or cauldron – while any ratio of baking soda to vinegar will give you a fizzy reaction, the biggest and best reaction is with a ratio of 1:12 (1 tablespoon baking soda to 12 tablespoons vinegar).
- Vinegar (at least 12 tablespoons, or 3/4 cup)
- Baking soda (at least 1 tablespoon)
- Food coloring
- Pan or dish to catch the spillover
- Cauldron or skull glass (or any kind of cup, but Halloween-themed items are the most fun!)
How to Make a Fizzy Potion
Step 1. In your cauldron (or glass cup, or beaker), add 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
Step 2. In a separate glass, measure out 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) vinegar and add a few drops of food coloring.
Step 3. Add the vinegar to the baking soda cauldron, and watch the fizz erupt!
What’s the science behind bubbling potions?
It’s chemistry! When baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) are mixed together, one of the products this reaction creates is carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas escapes, and that gas forms the bubbles you see coming out of the potion. The food coloring helps you see the bubbles a little better.
Here are a few discussion questions you can ask your kids to think about:
- What would happen if we tried different ratios of baking soda to vinegar?
- What if we changed how we added the ingredients together? For example, if we poured the baking soda into the vinegar instead of the other way around?
- Can this potion be used for anything?
- (Hint: Baking soda and vinegar makes a great household cleaner!)