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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Magic Colourful Fizzing Bicarb Soda & Vinegar Science Experiment

Are your kids interested in science experiments but you don't know where to start? Want a really easy experiment you can do together? In this post I'll show you how to create an easy chemical reaction using three simple household items you'll find in the kitchen. It's a fun way to teach chemistry to young children and create some real life magic.

One of the simplest and safest chemical reactions to create at home is the reaction between bicarb soda {also commonly known as baking soda} and vinegar. Both of these items are commonly found in a household pantry as they're both readily used for baking and cleaning. To take this experiment to the next level and add in even more magic, add some food colouring to create magical fizzing eruptions of colour.

Before you start your experiment get your child to hypothesis by asking them what they think will happen. What will happen to the liquid when we add the bicarb powder? Will it make a noise? Will it make something new? Come up with a list of ideas then perform the experiment to see if they were right.


  • Spoon
  • Container
  • Vinegar
  • Small bowl
  • Shallow tray
  • Food colouring
  • Bicarb Soda {Baking Soda}

We used a plastic mini cauldron as the container for our reaction because we have a heap of them saved from Halloween and I thought it was fitting to make a fizzing potion in a witches cauldron. You can of course use any container you have, we've done the same experiment before in glasses and cups, however if you want the colour eruption to be a surprise it's best to use a dark coloured container. Also be aware that the mixture will bubble over so you'll want a tray or plate underneath to catch the run off.

To do this experiment I filled the plastic cauldron with vinegar and mixed in a few drops of food colouring, while my daughter wasn't around, so she didn't know what colour was going to come out. Because the container was black even with it right in front of her she couldn't tell that the liquid mixture inside was coloured so it was a complete surprise to her. 

I gave her a small bowl of bicarb soda for her to spoon into the cauldron to cause the chemical reaction. As you can see from the video below, it didn't take much bicarb soda powder to set off a pretty impressive eruption. Once the fizzing has stopped and the bubbles have calmed down you can add another spoonful of bicarb to make the eruption happen again.


1. Half fill a container with vinegar.
2. Add a few drops of food colouring to the vinegar.
3. Fill a small bowl with bicarb soda powder.
4. Set both on top of a shallow tray and add a teaspoon of bicarb powder into the vinegar container.
5. Add more bicarb as needed to create subsequent colourful bubble reactions.

This experiment is a fun hands on way to teach colours as well as chemical reactions. Use different pots for different colours if you want to do more than one. The same experiment is also how the popular erupting volcanoes come to life {just use red food dye to create lava}. The experiment can also be done starting with the bicarb and food colouring in one pot and adding the vinegar, the reaction is exactly the same. We chose for her to spoon in the powder as it was the less messier option {in case she spilt a whole lot of vinegar while pouring it out}.


Depending on their ages, the kids may not be interested in the science beyond knowing that mixing bicarb and vinegar together makes an exciting fizzy eruption. I know my toddler would only care that I magically made bubbles appear, however older kids may ask more questions, so it's always good to understand the chemical reaction going on behind the smoke and mirrors of the exciting fizz or volcanic lava.

Baking soda and vinegar react in what's known as an acid-base reaction when an alkaline solution reacts with an acidic solution. Baking soda {bicarb soda} is chemically known as sodium bicarbonate. The sodium bicarbonate which is alkaline reacts with the vinegar, which is acidic to form sodium acetate and carbonic acid which quickly dissolves to water and carbon dioxide gas. The fizzing bubbles are a result of the intensity of the reaction and the quick rate at which the carbon dioxide gas is expelled. For a more detailed insight into the chemical reaction have a look at the equations for the bicarb and vinegar reaction here.

baking soda and vinegar experiment reaction


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