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Sensory play with baking soda and vinegar

Emma and Lily play with baking soda and vinegar

It has rained a lot here lately, and on one of those grey days Emma asked if she could play with vinegar and baking soda. Actually, she said vinegar and flour, but she mean baking soda (she wanted to see the fizz effect of mixing an acid and base). She was pretty excited to show Lily how it works, and all three kids enjoyed this sensory play experience!

Johnny observes the effect of vinegar on baking soda

Johnny was very methodical, starting off with little bits, and then pouring the entire cup of vinegar on, and admiring the fizz!

Johnny pours vinegar onto baking soda

I’m not sure why he pulled his arm out of his sleeve and through the top of his shirt…

Emma and Lily play with baking soda and vinegar

The girls saw Johnny pour out his entire cup, and decided to follow suit! They noticed that, when baking soda and vinegar mix together, putting your hands in the solution makes them feel kind of slippery!

Cost-benefit analysis:

  • Prep: Getting out vinegar, baking soda, and trays – less than one minute
  • Initial entertainment: about 10 minutes
  • Clean-up: 2 minutes or less. Since we put a thin layer of baking soda on the trays and there is only a little vinegar in a cup, this is not a very messy experiment with my kids. Even if it gets on the floor, both vinegar and baking soda are cleaning agents, and so very easy to clean up!
  • Cost: Less than $2
  • Lasting value: experiential learning about (safe!) household chemicals, and the reaction between acids and bases

A hands-on science and math resource for parents and educators

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

42 thoughts on “Sensory play with baking soda and vinegar”

  1. My 2 yr. old granddaughter asks to play with baking soda and binger (vinegar) every single day! She loves the fizzing and color changes she can make.

  2. I was going crazy stuck in the house on a rainy day with my niece and nephew (4 and 2) so we tried this and they had an absolute blast! They were cracking up every time it fixed! So fun and mess free! Perfect for rainy days!

  3. I love this! I would have never thought of putting it on a tray! I’ll have to try this (maybe today!) Thanks so much!

  4. Tabitha (Growing Up Homeschooled)

    Stopping by from Link & Learn. I love this idea! Will have to do it this week. Do you just use a cookie sheet to keep it from making a big mess?

    1. We use food trays from IKEA, but a cookie sheet would work well, too! Or a cake pan, since higher walls are better for mess containment =)

    1. The volcano experiment is always fun! My kids haven’t seen that one – yet! We will do it soon =)

    1. I think they would have a blast with this!

      Did your snow melt okay, or did you have a lot of flooding?

  5. I am impressed with the concentration the kids are having during the experiment.they are completely into it. A great sensory experience.

    1. As long as they aren’t stuffing huge quantities into their mouth (which they probably wouldn’t do since it doesn’t taste very good), it’s safe for pretty much any age. But baking soda and vinegar are safe to eat (although neither is recommended in large quantities), and when combined they produce sodium acetate, which you find in various foods (cheese in particular) as an ingredient.

  6. Two Chicks and a Hen

    Wow, I’ve never thought of just handing it over to them like this. I think I might do this tomorrow.

  7. A little fizz action is fun to watch. It’s been really wet here, too! Love how all the kids look like they’re working together and having fun.

  8. I did this with a book club group I run and it was a super big success! I like how you did it in a tray. We did ours in paper cups and added food coloring…we were sort of replicating volcano’s (dinosaur unit). However, for my preschool I think in the trays is a much better idea! Thanks for sharing :]

  9. Candace @ NaturallyEducational

    Love it! And it much easier to clean-up than shaving cream and paint!

    I shared this on my facebook page, too!

    1. I try to keep a list on a sheet of paper – but you could include more information in a card file!

  10. I just love the last picture – it looks that all three were having a lot of fun with this activity. Emma looks so grown up in comparison to Lily.

  11. Elisa | blissfulE

    I love that first picture of the two girls working together: Emma’s smile and Lily’s intent look.

    Hm, maybe I should have my kids do this in the bathroom, where any spillage would go towards cleaning up the floor. :)

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