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/

 

 

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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!

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:

 

Eggs-periment Part 2 – Investigating Naked Eggs

So now that we know how to make a NAKED egg (giggle, giggle) we can investigate osmosis which is the movement of water through a membrane.  It’s best if you have 4 naked eggs.  If you don’t know how to make a Naked Egg click here.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Naked Eggs (We used 4 and 1 broke)
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Salt
  • Corn Syrup
  • Clear Jars/Cups

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I helped the superheroes take the eggs out of the vinegar that the eggs had been soaking in (to dissolve the shells) and rinsed the outside with water.  Next, we gently placed them back in the clear jars.  Unfortunately, one broke (our salt water egg) so we were left with 3 naked eggs.  We poured water over one egg, water with green food coloring over the 2nd egg and corn syrup over the last egg.  And then we let them sit overnight.

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Left to Right: Water, Green water, Corn Syrup

Because the eggs had absorbed water from the vinegar solution, the egg in the corn syrup began to float (water is less dense than corn syrup so the egg floated a bit).  This will not affect your results.

After 2 days of soaking, the eggs looked like this (from the top):

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Left to right: Water, Green water, Corn syrup

You can see the water egg has turned white again and has gotten bigger.  The egg in the green water has turned green.  Interestingly, the egg in the corn syrup has begun to shrivel up and the yolk is very visible.  We took the eggs out of the jars to investigate them a bit more.

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Left to Right: Raw Egg w/Shell, naked egg in water, Green water naked egg, Corn Syrup Naked egg

I asked the superheroes what they think happened.  The green egg was the easiest for them to understand.  My little superheroes were pretty impressed with the shriveled egg.  I let them hold the eggs and feel the differences between the eggs.

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Egg in water

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Egg in green water

Egg in corn syrup

Egg in corn syrup

And of course, the superheroes completed their observation sheets.IMG_1913

 The Science behind the Experiment:

What is going on with the naked eggs?

Once the shell disappears, a permeable membrane remains.  Permeable means that substances can penetrate (or diffuse into) the membrane, such as water.  This process is called osmosis, the diffusion of water.  Water tends to move from areas of higher water content to lesser water content until the water content on each side of the membrane is equalized.

In the case of the eggs in water and green water, the water content inside the eggs was lower than that outside and so the water moved into the eggs and made them bigger.  The membrane to the egg is also permeable to food coloring so that is why the egg in green water turned green.

In the case of the egg in corn syrup, the water content of corn syrup is lower than that inside the egg so water moved out of the egg and into the corn syrup.  This caused the egg to shrivel up.  If our salt water egg had not broken, what do you think might have happened to the egg?  Test it out to see if your guess (hypothesis) is correct!

Many secondary teachers use this experiment to demonstrate how the membranes inside of our cells work.  Our cell membranes are semi-permeable which means some substance can penetrate the membrane and others cannot.  This characteristic is vital to how materials move in out of out cells and our bodies.

Follow this link for more details about this experiment:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/activity-naked.html

 

Eggs-periment Part 1 – Naked Eggs

The kitchen is the BEST place to look for materials to investigate with your kids.  This past week, we’ve been “eggs-perimenting” with eggs.  The first part is to create a Naked Egg.  WHAT??  Did I say NAKED??  Yes I did!  And that was enough to get the giggles going in our kitchen.  So simple.  Two ingredients that I know you have at home.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Eggs (At least 2 in case they break.  We used 4)
  • Vinegar
  • Clear Jars/Cups

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First I gave raw eggs to the superheroes to touch and observe.  Since mine are young, I had to ask them “probing questions” such as:

  • What color is it?
  • Is it bumpy or smooth?
  • Is it hard or soft?
  • What shape is it?

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Then we carefully added the eggs to the clear jars.  One egg per jar.  Add enough vinegar to cover the egg completely.  The eggs might float and leave the top uncovered.  This is okay.  You will most likely need to change out the vinegar the next day and you can invert it then.

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The superheroes immediately noticed the bubbles on the egg shells.  We talked about what that might be.  They asked if there was baking soda on the outside of the egg since they know that vinegar and baking soda creates bubbles.  I told them it was similar to baking soda but not quite. For those of you with older superheroes, baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate and egg shells are mostly composed of Calcium Carbonate, both of which are bases that react when mixed with an acid such as vinegar (Acetic Acid).

We let the eggs sit overnight in the jars and observed them in the morning.  We started to notice a few things:

  • the eggs looked bigger
  • the egg shells were disappearing
  • there were lots of bubbles on the outside of the egg
  • the eggs looked yellower
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After 1 day, the shell is partially dissolved

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The froth on top is from the dissolved shell.

We discussed what was going on and the superheroes offered their own explanations. We carefully drained the jars of the vinegar and added fresh vinegar to continue to dissolve the shells.  I also gently rubbed on the eggs to scrape some of the shell off (it turns into a powder like coating that you can easily rub off) just to hurry up the process.  The eggs are very delicate at this stage as the only thing holding it together is a thin membrane. You might have noticed this thin membrane coating the inside of an egg shell when you crack them.  We DID end up losing an egg while draining one of the jars.  You can see the membrane floating at the top.

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After 3 days soaking in vinegar, this is what we ended up with.  A naked egg!

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A naked egg vs. a regular raw egg

And of course, the superheroes completed their observation sheets.

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The Science behind the Experiment:

There are a couple of things to note in this experiment.

First, and most obvious, is the dissolution of the egg shells.  As stated above, about 95% of an egg shell is composed of calcium carbonate which is a base.  When an acid like vinegar, also known as Acetic Acid, is added, the two chemicals neutralize each other, thus leading to the disappearance of the shell.  The bubbles that you see are carbonate ions from the shell that turn into carbon dioxide in this acid-base reaction.

Second is the obvious change in size of the eggs.  Once the shell disappears, a permeable membrane remains.  Permeable means that some substances can penetrate (or diffuse into) the membrane, such as water.  This process is called osmosis, the diffusion of water.  Many secondary teachers use this experiment to demonstrate how the membranes inside of our cells work.  (More on this in Part 2 of the Eggs-periment).

Follow this link for more details about this experiment:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/activity-naked.html