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Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

We are back with another Earth Day post today. It has been a while since we did the baking soda experiment. The children absolutely love it, so always goes down a real treat! There are a couple of different ways you can approach this so I shall explain both below. 

Earth Day is celebrated annually on the 22nd of April. It is a great time to think about doing some earth art, crafts and science experiments as they will go on to spark some great discussions with the children. 

Discuss and plan a couple of things you can do to 'do your bit' to look after the planet. It may be that you look to do an hour where all electricity in the home/your setting is switched off. You may look to do a litter pick, make bird feeders or bee baths. I'm sure the children will have some wonderful suggestions. 

I have been busy sharing some Earth Day crafts so be sure to check out - Puffy Paint Earth Day Craft and our Earth Day STEM Globe too.

You will need:
Baking Soda
White Vinegar
Food Colouring/Paint
A Container
Washing up liquid (optional)

There is are a couple of ways you can look to do this activity. It will have the same outcome and is down to personal preference. 

Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

I like to colour the baking soda. It is a real work out but you can craft your designs which make the activity more appealing to the children. You can ask the children to help with this but an adult will need to finish off the mixing. 

The baking soda tends to clump up so you have to drag the colour into the mix like a paste to make sure you get a good coating throughout your media. If you look to do this option I have found through lots of trial and error that ready mixed childrens paint works much better than food colouring for this method.

Why? It is a lot more vibrant and you would probably need to use a whole bottle of food colouring to get your desired colours. I think it probably helps that ready mixed childrens paint contains water so it is slightly easier to get the colour to mix around effectively too. You can also experiment with adding a couple of drops of washing up liquid. Some people swear by it when doing this experiment but to be honest I have had great success doing it with and without. So either or.

If you are looking for a more straightforward way of doing it you can opt to colour the vinegar instead. That involves adding a few drops of food colouring into your vinegar and using the pipettes to suck it up and you can squirt the colour directly onto the white baking soda base. In this instance you would add your baking soda to the tray and add your ocean and land colours by squirting in your coloured vinegar. 

Can you use ready mixed paint for the vinegar too? You can. Just be mindful that sometimes paint can be a little harder to remove from your pipette tubes so make sure you suck up some water straight after doing this activity and leave them full to soak if you don't have time to flush them completely right away. 

Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

I take a couple of dishes to mix the baking soda in. It is deceiving and you always end up needing more than you realise so be generous with your measures. The more ingredients you add the longer the experiment will be effective for. 

Squirt in your paint and begin to mix. I usually mix this as soon as we are ready to do the activity but I have mixed it the night before and it has kept just fine.

Once you have your coloured baking soda you can start to create your Earth in your tray. From experience I would recommend that you pop a tray inside a tray as we had such an eruption it poured over the tray in the end, so it is worth adding another tray to avoid any staining to the surfaces.

Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

Have a few jars of vinegar so the children can access. I buy the white vinegar in bulk on amazon now. It is a much better cost effective way of doing these experiments. I did buy it from Home Bargains for a time. 

I have some friends and family who kindly save my their baby food jars. These work well. Again this will go quite quickly once the children start so just make sure there is plenty to go around of be on hand ready to top the jars up. 

Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

You can purchase pipettes directly from us, a small family run business in Birmingham UK. They are great to use for a wide range of experiments - we are using ours all the time for crafts, experiments and water play! 

We also have some jumbo measuring pipettes which have measures running down the tubes and are accompanied by large, squeezy, colourful bulbs. Both sets are great for working fine motor skills and really supporting children to be creative and learn measurements and cause and effect.

Lets see this activity in action:

At this stage it is all about squirting your Baking Soda Earths with the vinegar and watching the bubbly eruptions!

This project is great fun and will encourage curiosity as they wonder what is causing the bubbles. What happens when they add more vinegar? How long do the bubbles last?

How can you explain the baking soda and vinegar reaction in child friendly terms? 

The reaction creates Co2 or carbon dioxide gas. This is the same gas that is found in real volcanos! If enough vinegar is used, all of the baking soda can be made to react and disappear into the vinegar solution. 

Earth Day Baking Soda Stem Experiment

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