Science Experiment: Rainbow Explosion
Updated: Oct 23, 2018
I believe there really is no age limitation when it comes to science experiments. You just have to put a little more thought into what would be safe for babies and toddlers. That’s why I really liked the rainbow explosion science experiment when a friend shared it with me; I was really excited to do baby’s first science experiment with my then 18 month old son! It's a good twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar science experiment. I explained to my son how the vinegar was an acid and the baking soda a base, and when mixed together they react, making bubbles (also known as carbon dioxide).
Truth: my son didn’t care. He just wanted to pour the vinegar. He would repeat “ooooh, ahhhh,” after I would say the same thing. However, he was having fun pouring and mixing. All in all, I chalk it up to a very successful first science experience! Below is the list of supplies that I used and instructions with tips.
1 Box of Baking Soda
1 Container of Vinegar (we used Distilled Vinegar)
3-4 Colors of Food Coloring/Kool-Aid Powder
5-6 Clear plastic cups (other cups work too, but best visibility is clear) or a Muffin Tin
1 Cookie Sheet/Cake Pan
1 Paper Towel Roll or an Old Dish Towel You Don’t Mind Getting Food Coloring On (babies and toddlers, and even some older kids, are going to be messy, best to be prepared!)
1) Set muffin tin on cookie sheet. Find a surface you don’t mind if colored vinegar/baking soda mixture leaks onto it. For us, it was the tile floor in the kitchen. I also put the paper towels within an arms reach.
2) Scoop baking soda into each plastic cup or muffin cup. With the spoon, my son scooped out about a tablespoon of baking soda, and I guided his hand while he dump it into a cup.
3) Drop different colors of the food coloring each plastic cup or muffin cup. If you don't have food coloring, Kool-Aid powder makes for a good substitute! Stir in the color with the spoon.
4) Pour vinegar into each plastic cup or muffin cup. Our vinegar container was practically empty, so I let my son pour directly from the vinegar container (as you can see in the picture above). Instead of directly from the container, you could pour vinegar into a plastic cup and let your child pour from a cup. But my 18 month old really loved pouring, so I highly encourage to let your child do the same!
My son and I hope you and your baby/toddler/older child have as much fun as we did! Happy STEM experimenting!
Note: This activity would also be good for preschool to second grade classes or STEM events where you would have participants ages one and up. Just scale the supplies up for more children.
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