Fun and learning don’t have to be difficult for the teacher to be effective! This super-simple science experiment takes only a few supplies to set up and will engage your students…all while sneaking in some science and fine-motor skills. It’s truly “magical!”
- plate, bowl, or foil trays (link to amazon)
- boxes of baking soda (link to amazon)
- plain white vinegar
- paint cups
- food coloring or liquid watercolor (we used purple, teal, blue and hot pink)
- plastic pipettes or medicine droppers (link to amazon or discount school supply)
- art smocks
Prepare ahead of time and pour the white vinegar into the small paint cups. Next, add a few drops of liquid watercolor or food color to each cup. Add a pipette to each cup. Finally, set out the trays, boxes of baking soda, and prepared cups. Remember – liquid watercolor stains, so you will want to choose your location accordingly!
Invite the children to come and sprinkle the baking powder and glitter into their tray. Demonstrate how to use the pipette and show the children how to squeeze the liquid out. Watch the excitement on their faces when they add the vinegar to the baking soda.
Shh! Don’t tell them that they’re practicing writing!
Tripod grasp is intentionally used to make the eye droppers function. They need to use the tripod grasp to gently pinch the dropper, release to suck up the fluid, hold the dropper without letting the fluid release, then squeeze it again to release it over the baking soda. The students will repeat this motion dozens of times while they experiment, all the while strengthening those very important fine-motor skills.
But wait, it’s SCIENCE too?
This activity can also be incorporated into a science lesson! The chemical reaction of the vinegar (an acid) combining with the baking soda (a base) releases carbon dioxide (which is the “fizz”). While this might be a little advanced for preschool students, if you have a mixed age group with older children, it can be used as a great science lesson as well.
Encourage the students to examine what happens when the different puddles mix and blend. If you want to really expand on color theory, reading the story “Mouse Paint” right before doing this activity prepares them to make puddles of their own and duplicate the story’s results.
One of the “magical” things about this center is that it’s easily customizable for any theme that you need. Need something for Veteran’s Day? Use brown, black, and green shades to make camo fizz. Primary colors work great for a color mixing unit. Learning about space? Try black, purple, dark blue and neon green. The possibilities are endless!
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