Fun with colorful bubble science in kindergarten

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on January 26, 2011

in Cognitive Development, Science and Nature, Shapes and Colors

As I have mentioned many times before, I love all the ideas you can find on other blogs but there are times that I will read an idea but not really give it a chance. Sometimes, it isn’t that the children aren’t ready to try something new or different – the problem is that we as teachers aren’t always ready to try something new or different.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read about using vinegar and baking soda for simple science fun in preschool but I simply didn’t give it any thought. And then I came across this post by The Mother Huddle, and suddenly I can’t wait to give it a try!

Perhaps it was the way she set it up or explained it or added color that made it more appealing to me. Or perhaps I am growing as a teacher and realizing that I need to branch out of my comfort zone a little more. Or perhaps I knew that this was a perfect idea for this particular group of children. In any case – I just couldn’t wait to give it a try. It is so fun to be excited about what you are planning!

I didn’t do this exactly as described by Mother Huddle because I had too many children and not enough time but we did pretty close to the same way. I started by gathering clear plastic cups, spoons, vinegar, baking soda, food color, and water. I filled one cup with just a little bit of water and the rest of the cups I filled with just about 1/2 cup or less of vinegar. Next, I set out the spoons and put a few drops of food color in each one then covered them all with the baking soda. You can get more specific directions from Mother Huddle.

Then I demonstrated for the children what we were going to do. I asked the children to make a hypothesis about what they think will happen when I put the spoon into the cup.  We talked about what the word “hypothesis” means – one of our Kinders already knew the answer to all my questions!

The children were surprised to see that the water turned blue! I let the children smell the water and they noticed it really had no odor. Then I gave each of the children a cup of vinegar instead of water and asked them to smell their liquid. “Did it smell the same?” I asked. “No – they yelled – it’s gross!”

Each child took a spoon and mixed it in their liquid. Before they took their turn, they made a hypothesis about what they thought would happen to their powder and what color they thought it would be. They began to see that if they looked carefully, some of the color showed through on the spoons and they could use this as a clue for their hypothesis.

When the children stirred their spoons in their liquid, the bubbles were produced! OH BOY – did they love this!!  They didn’t know that was going to happen. We noticed that water did not have the same effect as the vinegar on the powder mixture.

Once everyone had a turn, we let them continue to add more baking soda “powder” to their colorful cups of vinegar and watch it bubble up again.

We continued until everyone had several turns and spoonfuls of powder to mix in – then I ran out of powder! I used up one full box of baking soda and 2 jars of vinegar…

Once we were out of baking soda – we talked about the cause and effect of the mixture. We had only one spill over because I put too many cups in one container and one of the cups spilled over the edge of the cup and the container – oops!

We also passed around the vinegar bottle to smell it.

It was a super fun day and experience for me and the children! Yes – this is a keeper to share again with another group of children soon!

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Promoting excellence in early childhood education at home and in the preschool classroom!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Stacey January 26, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I’ve seen variations of this activity on two blogs over the past week. Both had rave reviews from the kiddos. I have got to get the supplies and try this out with the preschoolers. Fun! Thanks for sharing.

2 Deborah J. Stewart January 27, 2011 at 7:18 am

I have too – and I would definitely recommend this! Simple and fun!

3 Elizabeth March 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I just bought and put together all the supplies. I just tried it with my own two young children. They loved it. Although the initial bubbling is short lived, we experimented with adding more vinegar to the cup to create more bubbles. They named it Rainbow Bubbles to give it some interest! I will comment again for how it goes with my play school group tomorrow!

4 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

It is surprisingly so easy to do isn’t it? I had never tried this for the longest time and when I finally did, I was kicking myself for putting it off so long. The bubbles are short lived for sure so we go through a lot of vinegar and baking soda to see it over and over again:) I like the rainbow bubbles spin! Let me know how the play group goes!!

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