Before all of the big kids were out for summer break, I got to spend one more special day with my niece J. I wanted our one on one time to be extra fun so I dug into my new copy of 101 Kids Activities (affiliate link) and quickly picked an activity I knew she would love. I told my sister to pack extra clothes… this was going to get messy.
Prepping for the Cornstarch, Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment
Ingredients you need: Baking Soda (2 lb box) - $2.93, Corn Starch (16 oz) - $0.98, White Vinegar (32 oz) - $1.oo = $4.91 (awesome right?!?) Optional addition: Food Coloring Materials: Bowls, spoons, measuring cups, water, paintbrushes and spray bottle.
It seems like so long ago that baking soda was a new experience for my kids. Watching J explore the materials and mixtures brought back so many messy memories.
Since I wanted this to be a full experience I let J do the mixing. You can always mix the ingredients ahead of time and set the activity up as painting with this really neat sidewalk paint. Here are the Fizzing Sidewalk Paint Instructions (including the paint recipe) straight from the book. Copied from 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, printed with permission of Page Street Publishing June 2014.
** Note – I used glass containers for this to help the pictures AND because J is the kind of kid that I knew would be fine with them. I would never have used them with my own kids. Something would have broken for sure. That said, even with calm and thoughtful J I wished I would have used plastic half way through. It added an unnecessary element of worry.**
Watching the Playful Learning Unfold
The best part about this activity is that you don’t have to do anything. That means you can really engage, drive the conversation and have FUN! Here are a few tips for enhancing the baking soda and vinegar experiment.
- Talk about the materials as they are being explored. (How does the baking soda feel? Is it cold or warm? Is it hard or soft? How does it smell?)
- Compare the materials to each other and themselves. (What is different about baking soda and cornstarch? What is the same? How do the materials feel when they are mixed together?)
- Predict what will happen. (I see you are about to add water, what do you think will happen to the baking soda and corn starch?)
- Help draw conclusions. (In this container the mixture is runny, in this container the mixture is firm. I wonder what the difference is.)
Add Vinegar (Because it’s just so fun)
Once your little scientist has had a chance to explore the materials, add vinegar. Use a spray bottle a cup or a turkey baster. If this is the first time for your kid to try mixing baking soda and vinegar, don’t say a thing. Just let it happen… and make sure your camera is close by!
Once everyone is done playing, spray off the area with a hose. EASY!
Here’s the best part of 101 Kids Activities (affiliate link). It’s not meant to be a guide for how you HAVE to do things. It’s full of inspiration, tips and ideas. J was so into combining ingredients and exploring the textures, I could have saved the color and paintbrushes for another day.
Yep. I just might be the coolest Aunt EVER! The best part? This mess was cleaned up in 5 minutes. One quick spray down with hose was all it took. TIP: Knowing how easy the clean up is can help make the mess feel less stressful. Try this on a smaller scale to see just how easy it is to clean up before you let the kids go crazy.
Have you picked up a copy of 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters? (affiliate link) I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy and I’m loving it!
Thank you Kids Activities Blog for always making playtime so much fun!