Thursday, April 19, 2012

Science Experiment: "Sparkly Explosion!"

My daughter has been requesting science experiments that explode, sparkle, and use fire!  I love child-led learning because it helps cultivate a love for education and skills to learn independently in the future.  It is also a form of assessment because you can see exactly how your child is processing information you have already taught.  This little gem is completely my daughter's creation, but we all loved it.  I hope you have as much fun with it as we did!  And don't worry--I have several more fiery experiments and demonstrations to put up soon!

Simple Supplies for a "Sparkly Explosion:"
  • vase
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • food coloring (we used neon red)
  • blue glitter (this is very important, though you can use any color)
  • other supplies--see step 4. 
  • pan to contain the mess

The Easy How-To:
  1. Place 2-3 Tablespoons baking soda in the bottom of the vase.  Put the vase in the pan.
  2. Add 6-7 drops of food coloring and 1-2 teaspoons of glitter.
  3. Quickly pour in about 1/2 cup vinegar.  Watch for the sparkles!
  4. When the action is over, repeat the experiment, but this time let your child choose other supplies to add.  What does pepper look like in the "explosion?"  Does salt change anything?  What about spaghetti noodles?  Remember this is not a demonstration, it is an experiment!  Let your child change the variables, predict what will happen, and enjoy the results!   
At some point during an experiment like this, I review with my children that baking soda and vinegar react to make the explosion.  Older children can understand that baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid and mixing acids and bases makes a reaction.  They can also base their experiments in Step 4 on this knowledge.  My children are old enough to know that some things react when you mix them together.

UPDATE:  Need glitter?  Here is an Amazon affiliate link for your convenience!  You never pay more when you click through an affiliate link, but we do receive a small commission for referring you:

I may share at any of these parties!

Science Experiment: "Sparkly Explosion!"


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Keitha said...

Explosion experiments are always the most fun. I have never added "sparkle" to ours. Thanks for the tip.

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

To be completely honest, I do not think I would have thought of it without my daughter! She does love sparkles, though!

Anonymous said...

Awesome... my daycare children will really enjoy this..thank you we are always looking for something different to experiment with.

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Anonymous, My kids love experimenting and coming up with variations on experiments they're more familiar with! I hope you guys have a blast with it! ;)

Charlene@APinchofJoy said...

This looks so fun! I want to be in your preschool class -- way more fun than the techy stuff I've been learning lately! Thanks so much for sharing on Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy. Hope to see you again next week!

Pow!Science! said...

Nice presentation! If you'd like to eliminate the vinegar smell, substitute a spoonful of citric acid crystals dissolved in a cup of water. For older kids, try using a digital thermometer (about 12 bucks at most 'big boxes') and watch the temperature of this Endothermic Reaction go down (counter-intuitive for most, this is a great opportunity to do some predicting)!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Charlene, it is a ton of fun! Thanks for hosting Busy Monday!

Pow!Science, those are great ideas! Thanks for sharing! Even young children can touch the vase, notice its coolness, and contrast it to other reactions (like the Elephant Toothpaste). And I love the idea of citric acid crystals! I don't mind the vinegar smell, but I do like to let them repeat experiments with different variables...and there are so many other fun uses for citric acid too!

Ms. Liz said...

Love the vase you used, the brightness of the food coloring, and the addition of glitter. Fun! Pinned it to our Preschool Science Board, thanks for sharing :)

Alicia Stucky said...

We normally don't keep anything but glitterglue in the house.. but this makes me want to make a trip out just to get some so that we can do this tomorrow. Nice idea!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Liz, thanks for pinning it!! It was all a very colorful combination!

Alicia, I completely understand that! We actually got the blue glitter for another project and had some leftover...I totally think it's worth it!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to see this site. As a retired hospital lab person and now grandma to 6, I am always looking for fun but interesting things to do when babysitting. Of course science was my favorite subject and I had a teacher that made it fun. I hope to do the same.

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Thanks, Anon! I've always loved science too...I've taught it at several grade levels, and enjoyed each experience! I'm glad you stopped by!!

Michelle said...

We love to do science experiments here at our house too! We do one just like this and use old plastic water bottles. My son calls it his volcanoes. Love the idea of adding glitter, we will try that out.

Lisa said...

If you're a 44YO without kids, would it be acceptable to do this, just because? I totally want to have a little fun. :)

Whitney Mason said...

Hi! I just wanted to say thank you for this fun activity. My 2 year old loved it! Also, I posted a link to this activity on my blog.

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Michelle, Aren't volcanoes just awesome! The glitter adds such a fun dimension, too!

Of course, Lisa! It just means you're totally cool! ;) I daily find myself wondering who's having more fun...the kids or me!

Hi Whitney! Thanks for sharing! I look forward to getting to know you better!

Bethany said...

Thanks so much for this great idea! We did it here .

Anonymous said...

Fantastic fun! thanks - just pinned to pinterest too. My son had a blast, no pun - Deb

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Bethany, that's wonderful! Thanks for sharing your link!

Fabulous, Deb!! Thanks for sharing it too!

Anonymous said...

I heard somewhere that baking soda and vinigar was harmfull for kids and skin? What did you find while doing this experiment?

Danica Powell said...

We didn't have food coloring so we used a pack of red koolaide and it worked great and instead of it smelling like vinegar it smelled more like strawberries.

Sonia said...

I'm a science summer camp teacher and I found this post shared on Facebook. What a hoot of an idea! I'll be stopping by a thrift shop for a box of glass vases to do this - and I especially love the idea of using a pack of koolaid! Women and moms are so creative and awesome! Thanks for the inspiration!

Sonia said...

oh, and for the person wondering if the vinegar and baking soda was harmful to skin - baking soda is just a form of salt, so it irritates small cuts or dries out skin a touch. Vinegar is an acid, but a mild one. If you'd worry about the child spilling pickle juice on themselves, that's about the same kind of mixture. Super fun, almost no worries.

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Danika, I love how Koolaid smells in experiments like this too! Thanks for sharing!

Sonia, Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! I bet your kiddos loved it!

And yes, baking soda can sting a cut or dry out sensitive skin, but that's about it. Some children have skin sensitive to glitter too. Always follow your doctor's instructions if your child has sensitive skin! :)

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Welcome! I'm so glad you're visiting! I am a public school teacher turned homeschooling mom who runs a small home daycare. I love to teach, create fun and exciting resources, and share the educational journey that we get to live!

This blog is full of ideas and resources for parents teaching preschoolers! One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to meet you all--be sure to say hi! You can always leave a comment or email me anytime at PreschoolPackets at gmail dot com!



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