Fizzing Christmas Trees

In our home (and with the Tiny Tots in my classes), baking soda and vinegar NEVER get old.  All the fizzing and bubbling and color changes make it a fun activity anytime.  So, how about making a few Fizzing Christmas Trees to get in the holiday spirit?  My superheroes and the Tiny Tots had a blast with these!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Paper plates cut in half
  • Glitter, Sequins, Beads, etc… (anything you’d like to mix in to your trees)
  • Vinegar
  • Green food coloring or green liquid watercolor
  • Bin to contain the mess

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To make the fizzing Christmas Trees:

Add 2 cups of baking soda (about one 1lb box) to a large bowl.  Add glitter, beads, sequins (not necessary but always fun).  IMG_4477

Add the food coloring to 1/2 cup of water and place in the bowl.

IMG_4479 Mix together well with your hands.  It will be crumbly. If it’s too water/soupy, add more baking soda.

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Cut a paper plate in half.  Roll it into a cone shape and tape the sides.

IMG_4482 Fill it with about half of the baking soda mixture, making sure to pack it in tightly to form a nice pointy top for your tree. (This recipe makes 2 trees)IMG_4481

Trim the bottom of the plate and flatten the top so that you don’t have leaning trees (like some of mine!)

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Place in the freezer overnight to firm up the shape.

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The next morning, the trees were very hard. Perfect!

To play: 

Unwrap the paper plate from the trees and place into a bin.  I added some baking soda on the bottom to look like snow.

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I had my superheroes add a little “snow” to the trees.

I gave them 2 cups of “Elf Potion” (vinegar with red and green food coloring) and a dropper.  They knew EXACTLY what to do!

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The instant the vinegar hit the trees, the fizzing and bubbling began.

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As the trees “melted”, they found beads and sparkly glitter.  The older ones kept at it until the tress were all gone and a sloppy, glittery, goopy mess was left as evidence of some fun holiday science!

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Bubbles and fizzing!!!  They LOVED it!!

Such an easy and simple little experiment to set up with a Christmas twist.  For more ideas on how to play with baking soda and vinegar throughout the year, check out my other fizzy activities:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/melting-christmas-tree-baking-soda-science-sensory-play/

 

 

Fizzing Easter Eggs

The tiny tots in my class LOVE baking soda and vinegar experiments and I’ve posted several different variations of them.  Here’s my latest version, just in time for Easter.  So grab an extra pack of eggs at the dollar store and set up this fun experiment in a few minutes!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda (Bunny Powder!)
  • Vinegar (Bunny Juice!)
  • Food coloring (I love my liquid watercolors)
  • Plastic Easter eggs (I have amassed a large collection over the years)
  • Muffin Pan or styrofoam egg carton (cardboard will leak and make a mess)
  • Glitter (because sparkles are FUN)
  • Droppers (I use the ones I get from the pharmacy with my kids’ medications)
  • Cups for the vinegarIMG_1244

To set up:

I placed a dozen halves of plastic easter eggs in my muffin tin.  (You can also use a styrofoam egg container but don’t use the cardboard ones.  Once the vinegar gets added, you will have a leaky mess)I placed about 1/2 tsp of baking soda into each egg and sprinkled some glitter on top.  You could also add some foam bunnies or beads or anything else for some extra fun!

Pour vinegar (Bunny Juice) into small cups.  I used 6 different colors to create a rainbow.  Kids love choosing different colors.

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To play: 

I placed a muffin tin with the eggs in front of each of the tiny tots in my class.  The colored vinegar was ready for them to play with droppers.  The tots already know what to do with the droppers at this point 🙂

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They added their favorite colors to the eggs and watched them bubble and fizz!  So easy!  So fun!  So colorful!

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That’s IT!  See, you can do this at home too!  And the little ones love it!  Adapt it for any seasonal occasion as I did with my Fizzing Leprechaun Pots for St. Patrick’s Day, Fizzing Christmas Trees or as Pumpkin Volcanoes for Halloween.

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 Science Behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fizzy-eggs-easter-baking-soda-science-experiment/

Magic Leprechaun Rocks

Lucky the Leprechaun is always up to some sort of mischief and this year he left some magical rocks!  Part of the fun was looking for the rocks and part of the fun was trying to break open the rocks with the “Magical Leprechaun Potion”!  Just 2 simple kitchen ingredients and some gold coins/rocks are all you need!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Tray for drying the rocks
  • Gold coins (I got mine from the dollar store)
  • Vinegar
  • Green food coloring (optional – but colors make everything more fun!!)

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To make the magic rocks:

Combine 2 cups of baking soda and 1/2 cup of water (add some color to the water if you want colored rocks) in a large bowl.  Mix together well with your hands.  It will be crumbly.

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Using your hands, make a rock shape with the mixture.  If it’s too dry, it won’t stay together, if it’s too watery, it will melt into a sloppy puddle.  Hide your coin inside the rock.IMG_1109

Let them dry overnight.  I placed mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  They will be delicate when wet.IMG_1111 The next morning, the rocks were hard.  Be careful, they break easily (You can also freeze them overnight to keep them from breaking as easily).  Note: this recipe will yield about 10 rocks.

To play: 

That naughty Leprechaun left the rocks in our backyard for the boys to find.

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The boys were excited to hunt for the Leprechaun rocks! The boys grabbed one rock each and were very eager to break them open.

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This was the first casualty.

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The next rock was placed in a plastic bin.  I gave them both some droppers and some green Leprechaun Potion (Vinegar with some green food coloring) to pour over the rocks.

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Bubbles and fizzing!!!  They LOVED it!!

Aha!  I see something shiny inside!

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Such an easy and simple little experiment to set up with a St. Patrick’s Day twist.  The variations on this are endless: dinosaur eggs with dinosaurs hidden inside, Easter eggs with a little prize inside, etc…

For more Leprechaun Science Fun, try the following:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: giftofcuriosity.com

Extension:

With the broken rock, we added the crumbly powder to a small “pot of gold” that I had out for my Fizzing Leprechaun Pots activity.

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The boys used the leftover magic potion to create a bubbly green potion in the pot.

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How did your Magic rocks turn out?  Any tricks to make them more durable?  Let me know in the comments!

Homemade “Fake” Snow

Out here in California, we don’t get any snow in the winter, unless you drive up to the mountains.  But what kid doesn’t love playing with snow?  Since going to Tahoe is not an everyday option, we whipped up some “fake” snow to play with in the meantime.  Only TWO ingredients!  Seriously, you have these at home so you can make your snowman today!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking soda
  • Shaving Cream
  • Large bin to play in
  • Glitter/Food coloring (optional)

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First, we emptied one box of baking soda into the bin.  If using a large bin, you might want to get several boxes of baking soda.

I had the boys touch the baking soda and describe how it felt using their senses.  I even let them take a taste.

Next we added some shaving cream to the bin and then the fun began!

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The boys used their hands to squish and mix and this way definitely the favorite part of the activity.  Add enough shaving cream until you have the consistency of fresh, powdery snow!  IMG_0739

Add more shaving cream if you want your snow to be a bit more moldable (so you can make a snowman, of course!) Below is a snowman made by one of the Tiny Tots.  Isn’t it cute?

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The boys decided the snow was “boring” without any color so of course, we added some liquid water color.  We ended up with purple snow.

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My superheroes tried their hand at making a purple snowman.  Now there’s something you don’t see everyday!

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The tiny tots in my class added some silver glitter to white snow.  Isn’t it lovely?

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Even my littlest superhero enjoyed exploring the “snow”.

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a great sensory activity to add to any weather or winter unit you might be working on.  It’s also another opportunity to observe changes in materials when they are mixed.  Or for us Californians, this might be the closest we get to snow this winter 😦

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candy Concoctions

This is the 3rd part to the Candy Experiment series.  And probably the funnest (that’s a word in toddler speak, right?) one yet!  And it’s the perfect way to use up any and all of your leftover candy whether it’s from Halloween, Christmas, V-Day, Easter or just birthday goodie bags.  The superheroes LOVED this one and I’m sure yours will too!

Here is what you need to get started:

  • leftover candy (we used skittles, lollipops and gummy candies)
  • cups or beakers or large plastic test tubes
  • droppers
  • spoons
  • droppers and syringes
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • water

Give each superhero some candy and a plastic cup, beaker or test tube.  Ask them to make up some potions or candy concoction.  Let them mix and pour and and use the candies however they please.  IMG_1489

They used the lollipops to mix their potions.  Added bonus: It changed the color of their potion!

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Mixing concoctions with candy in them

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Some vinegar and baking soda make bubbly potions!

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Using droppers to make precise measurements.

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All in all, the superheroes and their friends had a blast and we used up a lot of leftover candy experimenting instead of getting cavities:)

Science Behind the Activity:

This is one of my favorite activities because it allows young children to be creative and explore and investigate.  I didn’t give them any instructions, just some materials and let them have at it.  One of the girls just wanted to make things fizz.  Another child wanted to see what colors the potions would turn with different candies.  One just wanted to mix everything together.  Each child did something different.  And most importantly, they learned about cause and effect: What happens if I do this?

Pumpkin Volcano

So who doesn’t love a little vinegar and baking soda action?  Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Halloween.  So, while you are picking out your pumpkins, grab a small sugar pumpkin and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Small Pumpkin (I used sugar pumpkins that were 2/$1 at our local produce stand but you can also use the small decorative pumpkins too)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Small cup (optional)
  • Syringes and droppers (optional-my kids love using these!)
  • Dish/Container to place the pumpkin in to catch the “eruption”

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First, cut the top of the pumpkin out and scoop out the seeds.

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Mini Decorative Pumpkin

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Sugar Pie Pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried the experiment by adding our “chemicals” directly into the pumpkins, but the baking soda started clumping up after awhile and it was hard to clean them out in between students.

So, we cut off the top of a small plastic cup so that it fits inside the pumpkin.  This is optional but we found that it was easier for repeating the experiment if there was a cup inside.  It is by no means necessary.

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Next, we poured some vinegar into a cup.  My superheroes chose to add red liquid watercolor to make “vampire’s blood”.  For my science class, I had 6 rainbow colors for the tots to choose from.

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Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the pumpkin

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Then add some vinegar (vampire’s blood!).  My superheroes love using droppers.

IMG_2338Watch your pumpkin-cano erupt!

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Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!

In my Tiny Tot class, I gave each child a tray with cups of colored vinegar and baking soda for them to do some free play

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When I did this with my son’s Kindergarten class, we added some spiders and plastic eyeballs for some extra fun.

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.

Extension: 

There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great fall theme application of this is the Apple-cano, which we also did.  This time the superheroes chose “green slime” as the color of the eruption.

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For other fun Pumpkin and Halloween related science activities, try: